Original Scientific Article

Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 499-505

First online:

Why Trees Are Important

  • Edward O. WileyAffiliated withEcology and Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas Email author 


The Tree of Life is the result of the interplay of changes in information and speciation. Almost 100 years after publication of Darwin’s Origin, the inception of Phylogenetic Systematics has resulted in a revolution in data inference. I briefly trace the development of this revolution and show examples of how data are interpreted relative to phylogenetic trees. I then provide brief discussions of how to read tree diagrams and the need to access the quality of phylogenetic inference.


Phylogenetic systematics Phylogenetic trees Cladistics