By: David Baum and Stacey Smith
476 pages, b/w illustrations, tables
Ever since Darwin, the evolutionary histories of organisms have been portrayed in the form of branching trees or "phylogenies." However, the broad significance of the phylogenetic trees has come to be appreciated only quite recently. Phylogenetics has myriad applications in biology, from discovering the features present in ancestral organisms, to finding the sources of invasive species and infectious diseases, to identifying our closest living (and extinct) hominid relatives.
Taking a conceptual approach, Tree Thinking: An Introduction to Phylogenetic Biology introduces readers to the interpretation of phylogenetic trees, how these trees can be reconstructed, and how they can be used to answer biological questions. Examples and vivid metaphors are incorporated throughout, and each chapter concludes with a set of problems, valuable for both students and teachers.
1. Introduction to phylogenetic trees and their importance in modern biology
2. Tree thinking and its importance in the development of evolutionary thought
3. What a phylogenetic tree represents
4. Trait evolution
5. Relatedness and biological classification
6. Gene trees and species trees
7. Phylogenetic inference with parsimony
8. Phylogenetic inference with distance, maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods
9. Statistical tests of phylogenetic hypotheses
10. Using trees to reconstruct evolutionary history
Answers to chapter quizzes
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