, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 563-572,
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Date: 08 Oct 2010

Evolutionary Trees from the Tabloids and Beyond

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In this special issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach, many authors (notably Brooks 2010) argue for the importance of helping students understand phylogenetics and outline innovative ways of introducing key concepts regarding tree reading (Mclennan 2010a) and tree building (Kumala 2010b). As argued by (Brooks 2010) and Kumala (2010a, c), evolutionary relationships (represented in phylogenies) can serve as the basic structure on which students hang their understanding of the biological world, providing a meaningful way to organize and remember facts, as well as serve as a constant reminder of the processes that have shaped biodiversity.

And of course, phylogenetics is important to understand in its own right. Biology has experienced something of a phylogenetic revolution in the last few decades (Losos 1996). Technology has advanced in several fields, making genetic sequences cheaper and faster to obtain and vastly improving our ability to analyze those data through increased computi ...