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Blog - Tree of life

Tree Of Life

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Tree of Life

The Tree of Life has been talked about and depicted for centuries. In more recent times, a collaborative effort among eleven institutions to depict relationships among living things as they diverged from one another over time. The tree traces back the beginning of the life on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.

This particular depiction is a combination of thousands of smaller trees and research all combined into one tree encompassing all of life. The resulting digital tree is available online for free for anyone to use or edit as they like. This current version of the tree, along with the underlying data is available to browse and download at https://tree.opentreeoflife.org

These spaghetti models of life can appear very confusing; however they are critical in the scientific research of millions of species around the world. Understanding how the millions of species on earth are related to one another helps scientists discover new drugs, increase crop and livestock yields, and trace the origins of infectious diseases.

This is not to say this Tree of Life is perfect and all inclusive, but progress is happening. There are thousands of studies out there and not all of them agree. These disagreements in how organisms are related create gaps in data which can create or reveal areas that need more study and perhaps that there are potentially millions of species that are still out there waiting to be discovered.

The current version of this tree is meant to be a collaborative effort and to grow and fill in with the help of research being conducted globally. With the input from scientist from every reach of the globe we will start to see those gaps filled, but we may start to see completely new branches being formed with new discoveries.

While many of us may not contribute to the scientific Tree of Life, why not plant our own tree in our home space and create our very own physical Tree of Life. Visit our storefront and find your perfect Tree In A Box.

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