NEMO RAMJET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEMO RAMJET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cladogram of the tree of life. Artwork showing the relative kinship between living organisms. Animals, bacteria, fungi and plants are depicted as a branching 'tree of life', known as a cladogram. It shows a common ancestor (single branch, centre) from which all organisms are descended. Present day organisms (shown as coloured silhouettes) are grouped into taxonomic order according to the closeness of their morphological, molecular and genetic make-up. It shows how closely related groups of organisms are, and supports suggestions of a possible evolutionary ancestry. The 'tree of life' was first popularised by Charles Darwin in his book, The Origin of Species. Cladistics was first developed by German biologist Willi Hennig.
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