June 26, 2022

Dubai Week

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The largest "evolutionary tree" ... thus exploring the origin of 2.2 million species

The largest “evolutionary tree” … thus exploring the origin of 2.2 million species

It is now available to anyone interested in evolutionary history For living organismsEnter the interactive website “OneZoom” and explore the links between all kinds of organisms recorded by scientists.

In about 10 years, this great project was completed Biology He was accompanied by Evolutionary Yan Wong of the University of Oxford and James Rosenthal, a biodiversity researcher at Imperial College London, and two scientists documented their project in a research paper published a few days ago in the journal Environment and Evolution. .

“Our website allows people to discover their favorite creatures and see how evolutionary history brings them together and create the giant tree of all living things on the planet,” says Wong. Earth“.

According to Rosenthal, he and his colleagues hope that their efforts will “provide a whole new way for people to appreciate the evolutionary history of the earth and the breadth of life in all its beauty.”

“Two million species may seem unimaginably large at first glance because no museum or zoo can accommodate them all, but our instrument will allow the public to represent all kinds of creatures on Earth and discover their history.”

Adequate data

Each leaf of the evolutionary tree represents a species; The paper contains the scientific and generic names of the species, and clicking on the name will display a list of options for further information, including access to Wikipedia, the “Encyclopedia of Life” and genetic information.

The leaves are marked green to red to indicate the extent to which each species is endangered, but many of the leaves are gray, indicating a lack of information about this species.

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Organisms are classified according to their genetic relationships (phylogenetics) rather than traditional taxonomy, so this reflects their evolutionary history better.

One of the interesting features of the website is the type of popular code; Where humans first come in, the gray wolf is the second most popular breed, which includes all pet dogs, while hemp is the most popular plant, followed by cabbage.

The researchers say that “everyone has worked hard to make the tree easier to explore” and that more research is needed, and that the effort will serve as “strong message that biodiversity is under serious threat.”