Since the introduction of Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, the genealogy of life has been visualized and described as a grand, branching tree. We’ll explore the use of the tree metaphor in evolutionary biology, some of its common misconceptions, and how tree diagrams are used (and abused) in communicating evolutionary relationships.
We’ll also look at our current understanding of the major groups in the tree of life, and examine some of the current philosophical controversies surrounding the methodologies used to generate trees and their application in other areas of biology.
Kirsten Fisher, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at CSU Los Angeles
Charley Knight, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles