Skip to Main Page

The Timetree of Life

S. Blair Hedges and Sudhir Kumar
Oxford University Press, 2009.

The evolutionary history of life includes two primary components: phylogeny and timescale. Phylogeny refers to the branching order (relationships) of species or other taxa within a group and is crucial for understanding the inheritance of traits and for erecting classifications. However, a timescale is equally important because it provides a way to compare phylogeny directly with the evolution of other organisms and with planetary history such as geology, climate, extraterrestrial impacts, and other features.