Phy­logeny

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Q&A -

Much like a fam­ily tree de­picts kin­ships be­tween in­di­vid­u­als, a phy­lo­ge­netic tree, or phy­logeny, rep­re­sents the branch­ing evo­lu­tion­ary re­la­tion­ships be­tween life forms past and present. The re­lat­ed­ness of any two mod­ern species (the spindli­est, out­er­most twigs) can be gleaned by trac­ing their parental branches back to where they meet at a shared an­ces­tor. Bi­ol­o­gists now have a pretty good idea of the over­all branch­ing pat­tern, but some un­tan­gling is still re­quired: can all an­i­mals be traced back to a jel­ly­fish-like an­ces­tor or a sponge-like one? SB

Yel­low hedge­hog sponge: who do you think you are?

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