Talk:Evolutionary tree

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A poll is currently being taken on how mammals should be split up. To vote, please visit Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Placentalia-Marsupialia or Eutheria-Metatheria. Thanks, it'll really be useful. --Ingoolemo 03:37, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

Article does not define the term[edit]

This article talks a lot about "evolutionary tree", but if you read it closely, it never once says WHAT IT IS. It says "is supposed to be something like this list", or "is often based upon some branch of biology", etc., etc., but a clear definition is never given. This is important, because all debates about how accurate the various "examples" of the tree offered are, how they can be compared with each other and the ideal conception of what the tree is, this is not possible without a clear definition of the tree. Biologists reading the article may think the definition is implicit; however, I am not a biologist, and from the article, I only gain a vague sense of the concept, and to be honest I walk away not really sure what it is after all.

This tree doesn't have much to do with cladistics. The splits aren't binary and no explanation is given for their arrangement. It's really more a phylogenetic tree. I also think this might be a bad idea in general because nobody really knows how the lower groups are arranged, and most of the higher ones will be discussed in a different article. What do we plan to put here that won't be contained in Monera, Archaea, Eukaryota, Protista, Plantae, Fungi, or Animalia, with more room for details and explanations? Not meaning to be negative... --Josh Grosse

Rememberr that we do now know something about the relationships of the "Kingdoms," and this is discussed well on several other pages. (I refer to the non-esistence of a monophyletic Kingdom (or whatever you want to call it) of ""Protista"", and the relative close relationsip of Fungi, to Animalia.

I agree it is not a formal cladistics diagram because no explanation is given for the arrangements. The non-binary splits were meant to represent currently unknown sequences of binary splits. I also agree that there is a lot of uncertainty that will necessitate future correction. However as a lay person I found such trees a compelling view of taxonomy and I think it gives a different perspective that is not widely known. I am not suggesting that this tree be the main entry point into the wikipedia taxonomy, just an alternate view. --Eob

Isn't the idea to base the pages on what is widely known, and preseting new theories in that context. This is not a dictionary for scientists, translating the techinical concepts into every-day ones; this is an encyclopedia for general use, helping the readers (who look up topics according to the language they customarily use) to find out a more exact knowledge. DGG 03:46, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Ok, now subpages I definitely disagree with. If we have enough information on animals to warrant a separate page, why doesn't that info just go on Animalia? There is already a nice summary chart there, with basically the same structure and content as what one would expect here. --JG

First of all, we do now know something about the relationships of the "Kingdoms," and this is discussed well on several other pages. (I refer to the non-esistence of a monophyletic Kingdom (or whatever you want to call it) of ""Protista"", and the relative close relationsip of Fungi, to Animalia.

My concept was that these new "tree pages'", such as Tree of life/Animalia, would be parallel and complementary to the current "prose pages", such as Animalia. They would be different to the prose pages in the following ways:

  1. They give a summary index into the prose pages.
  2. They do not contain any text other than a few words on each tree node.
  3. They allow for easier and quicker navigation through the tree of life.
  4. They emphasise the latest thinking in taxonomy and phylogeny which is quite different to the classical Linnaean taxonomy that many people would have learned in school.


Hmm, the quicker and easier I can see. I'll cooperate now. :) As for Linnaean taxonomy, though, it's been undergoing quite a few revisions, and it isn't nearly as far apart from cladistics as most people seem to think. The table on Animalia is, after all, pretty similar to the tree on Animalia. --JG

This distinction will be lost on the user.

Think of a book on zoology: for each phylum it discusses the general characteristics and the evolution of the phylumas a whole, and then considers the classes individually.

Suggestion: giving a full context for every page is somewhat of an overkill, since it (1) takes up a very large amount of space, (2) presents information (the upper level placement) that is completely irrelevant to people primarily interested in the minutiae of the tree, and (3) makes the page far more likely to be rendered obsolete by new data. How about using partial contexts that only go up to the subpage branched off from? --JG

What to you intend by "full context?" Shouldn't we show how a page is related to other pages, not just listing all the possibilities and leaving it to the reader to try them all? We seem to be having difficulties ourselves in distinguishing them, which is all the more reason to try. If they are too closely related to be distinguished, shouldn't the pages be merged?

Breaking abruptly in, like the WIKIng I am: When I started to clear upp the animal mess on a Swedish wiki I didnt know very much of all the efforts and discussions here. There I slowly during a month worked out a system on my own without having anyone to ask. When I then migrated to the Swedish wikipedia, where I am presently trying to bring with me the former work (a lot of articles) it was natural to bring the system with me, since its following every species and every higher level upto the organisms, and even with a link to Linné. With this system you can independently climb the systematics from species of plants to orgonisms and with some three clicks make a halt at man.

This application is actually no tree, but I was not sure where to put this question, so i left it here where I saw people discussing things that interest me. If its polluting this tree discussion, meybe someone helpful can move it there, and give me ahint at may page?

Its horizontal, and like the normal page links at yahoo and others, and it doesnt (normally) take more than one line, its very fast and easy to work with using copy and paste technique. I usually put this above the species info, and cut this "balk" and the species info with a line, it looks basically like this:

Linnés Systematik: Stam: Ryggradsdjur, Klass: Däggdjur, Ordning: Rovdjur, Familj: Kattdjur (Felidae)

and here comes the info, about the tiger etc...

You can see how the explanation of the hierarchy words are done and an example how the groups themselves are xeplained and linked at Follow the ape instinct in u and climb the "tree" there.

The two system could be integrated, I disnt in order to avoid confusing "laymen". The two systems are interlinked anyway at the page "systematik" and the page about Linné.

Anyhow, now I see that that "standard" here is the horizontal "colonn" style which is also a cute one, but takes more space, and doesnt provide as much info?

I am a friend of standard, and doesnt really want the Swedish wikipedia to be different from the others. Before I saw your discussions I showed this for the Danes, and I think they consider using it. And suddenly I am not so sure anymore, can only say I am extremely pleased with the concept I am using, but Im the only one "over there in Thule" who is interested. Glad for comments! :) Dan Koehl

discredited ideas[edit]

This is my first talk page entry, so beware and stuff. I read this line:

The description as a "tree" results from earlier ideas of life as a progression from lower to higher forms. Although such views are discredited now, the imagery is too well established to be readily lost. and I wondered how such views were discredited and also about the very nature of these poorly described views. Please to elaborate?

See History of evolutionary thought.

More generally, perhaps the tree model is still used because of the basic concept that an earlier species evolves into two species (as described in speciation). The two species are not more advanced, or "higher." But they are later in time, "younger". Humans anf gorillas have a common ancestor, perhaps Proconsul (genus). Neither humans or gorillas are necessarily better in their ecological niches than Proconsul was it its niche. Nor is it useful to say that they are "higher forms." And, even more, it is not useful to say that humans are a higher form of life than gorillas. They are simply different. DGG 03:46, 13 September 2006 (UTC)


I agree that this page should simply become a redirect to phylogenetic tree. I guess the question is, what is the portal to the WP:TOL for a reader who wants to see the highest level of organization, that is, the root of the tree of all of life? Am I missing something, or is this kind of portal, like the home page for Tree of Life Web Project, missing? Know what I mean? -Safay 08:54, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Category:Tree of life seems to be the best to start. Also, the individual domains, such as Archaea have nice boxes with subclassifications, but there is no box with all the top level domains. --Rajah 21:37, 19 October 2006 (UTC)