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Evolutionary tree

The evolutionary tree of living things is currently supposed to run something along the lines of that listed below. Most of the tree was based on ideas from cladistics; where more than two groups are shown in a single branch, there is disagreement about how they diverged. Hypothetically taxonomy would follow the tree whenever possible, but in many places it does not at present.

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.

The terminology originates with Linnaean taxonomy: living things are classified as belonging to domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.

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