Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tree of Life Project

I'm continuing to slowly browse my way through Richard Dawkins' book The Ancestor's Tale, which as I mentioned in an earlier post is a journey backwards in time through the many generations of humanity's evolutionary ancestors, all the way back to the dawn of life. In one of the tales, a footnote referred to the Tree of Life web project, so I took a look. This is an amazing use of the web - a team of biologists and other contributors are building a huge on-line database of all of life on Earth, based on an evolutionary tree structure. The level of completion varies a great deal (there are some 4000 web pages so far, but there are a lot of life forms to document), but there is already a lot of information there, and various tools and suggestions for exploring and learning from it. This page explains the structure of the Tree of Life (the basic navigation graphic is shown above).

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