Radial tree of life

August 23rd, 2010      

David M. Hillis, Derrick Zwickl, and Robin Gutell, at University of Texas created an amazing tree of life, which is displayed radially. We learned of this via PZ Myers, a biologist, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and blogger — who recently wrote about their Radial tree of life because he uses their amazing graphic in his talks and presentations.

This tree is from an analysis of small subunit rRNA sequences sampled from about 3,000 species from throughout the Tree of Life.

The species were chosen based on their availability, but we attempted to include most of the major groups, sampled very roughly in proportion to the number of known species in each group (although many groups remain over- or under-represented).

The radial layout uses much less space than a tree with a purely horizontal and vertical layout. See the PZ’s post.

Similarly, SpicyNodes uses a radial layout — and your nodes can link to other nodes, which are connected like radial arms of an octopus. Or starfish. Or jelly fish. Or sea urchins. The result feels natural, and makes good use of space.

Leave a Reply