2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, arguably one of
the UK's most influential scientists. It is also the 150th anniversary of the publication
of his book 'On the Origin of Species', which included his famous theory of evolution
by natural selection.
In this book, Darwin invoked the idea of the 'tree of life', a way to describe the
evolutionary relationships between all living things on Earth.
"The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented
by a great tree...As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous,
branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe
it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches
the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859
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Darwin, evolution, phylogenetic trees, classification and natural history.
About phylogenetic trees, classification and natural history