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The tree of life

April 28, 2016

When I was young, we learned that the taxonomic kingdoms were animal, plant, bacteria, fungi, and protists. I always did have a suspicion that the latter was sort of a catch-all. Biologists reviewing now available genomic data have made another cut at taxonomy from the top down. Their result is shown in the figure below. Of course, most of this tree concerns the diversity of microorganisms. Almost every visible plant and animal, what people normally think of as the biological world, is off in the lower right branch. Mushrooms excepted.


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