The Tree of Life: A Phylogenetic Classification
Edition: First US Edition
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. Quarto, green cloth. pp 560. Illustrated, index, illustrated charts attached at rear. Fine in fine jacket. Did you know that you are more closely related to a mushroom than to a daisy? That crocodiles are closer to birds than to lizards? That dinosaurs are still among us? That the terms fish, reptiles, and invertebrates do not indicate scientific groupings? All this is the result of major changes in classification, whose methods have been totally revisited over the last thirty years. Modern classification, based on phylogeny, no longer places humans at the centre of nature. Groups of organisms are no longer defined by their general appearance, but by their different individual characteristics. Phylogeny, therefore, by showing common ancestry, outlines a tree of evolutionary relationships from which one can retrace the history of life. This book diagrams the tree of life according to the most recent methods of classification. Each branch of the tree is a group that includes the hypothetical ancestor and all its descendants. The basis for classification is the evolutionary adaptations that the unique ancestor passed to its modern-day descendants. By showing how life forms arose and developed and how they are related, The Tree of Life presents a key to the living world in all its dazzling variety. Note: 2 kg parcel, extra postage may be required.