The growing success of molecular methods has challenged traditional views of animal evolution and a large number of alternative hypotheses are hotly debated today. For the deep metazoan phylogeny project, data sets of hitherto unmatched quality and quantity were compiled and analysed with innovative bioinformatics tools. Deep Metazoan Phylogeny: The Backbone of the Tree of Life begins at the base of the tree of life to discuss the origin of animals and early branches of the phylogenetic tree. The following section presents special data sets gained from mitochondrial genomes and from morphology, with a focus on nervous systems. The final section is dedicated to theoretical aspects of data analysis and new bioinformatics tools. The book closes with a unique general discussion of all hypotheses contained in previous chapters. This work provides the most comprehensive overview available of the state of the art in this exciting field of evolutionary research.