1 18.2 Modern Evolutionary ClassificationLesson Overview 18.2 Modern Evolutionary Classification
2 THINK ABOUT IT Darwin’s ideas about a “tree of life” suggested a new way to classify organisms—not just based on similarities and differences, but instead based on evolutionary relationships. When organisms are rearranged in this way, some of the old Linnaean ranks fall apart. To understand why, you need to know how evolutionary classification works.
3 Evolutionary ClassificationWhat is the goal of evolutionary classification?
4 Evolutionary ClassificationWhat is the goal of evolutionary classification? The goal of phylogenetic systematics, or evolutionary classification, is to group species into larger categories that reflect lines of evolutionary descent, rather than overall similarities and differences.
5 Evolutionary ClassificationThe concept of descent with modification led to phylogeny—the study of how living and extinct organisms are related to one another. Advances in phylogeny, in turn, led to phylogenetic systematics, or evolutionary classification. Phylogenetic systematics groups species into larger categories that reflect lines of evolutionary descent, rather than overall similarities and differences.
6 Common Ancestors Phylogenetic systematics places organisms into higher taxa whose members are more closely related to one another than they are to members of any other group. The larger a taxon is, the farther back in time all of its members shared a common ancestor.
7 Clades A clade is a group of species that includes a single common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor—living and extinct. A clade must be a monophyletic group. A monophyletic group must include all species that are descended from a common ancestor, and cannot include any species that are not descended from that common ancestor.
8 Cladograms What is a cladogram?
9 Cladograms What is a cladogram?A cladogram links groups of organisms by showing how evolutionary lines, or lineages, branched off from common ancestors.
10 Cladograms Modern evolutionary classification uses a method called cladistic analysis to determine how clades are related to one another. This information is used to link clades together into a cladogram, which illustrates how groups of organisms are related to one another by showing how evolutionary lines, or lineages, branched off from common ancestors.
11 Building Cladograms A speciation event, in which an ancestral lineage branches into two new lineages, is the basis for each branch point, or node. Each node represents the last point at which the new lineages shared a common ancestor. The bottom, or “root,” of the tree represents the common ancestor shared by all organisms on the cladogram.
12 Building Cladograms A cladogram’s branching patterns indicate degrees of relatedness among organisms. Because lineages 3 and 4 share a common ancestor more recently with each other than they do with lineage 2, you know that lineages 3 and 4 are more closely related to each other than they are with lineage 2.
13 Building Cladograms Likewise, lineages 2, 3, and 4 are more closely related, in terms on ancestry, with each other than any of them is to lineage 1.
14 Building Cladograms This cladogram represents current hypotheses about evolutionary relationships among vertebrates. Note that in terms of ancestry, amphibians are more closely related to mammals than they are to ray-finned fish!
15 Derived Characters In contrast to Linnaean classification, cladistic analysis focuses on certain kinds of characters, called derived characters, when assigning organisms into clades. A derived character is a trait that arose in the most recent common ancestor of a particular lineage and was passed along to its descendants.
16 Derived Characters Whether or not a character is derived depends on the level at which you’re grouping organisms. Four limbs, for example, is a derived character for the clade tetrapoda. Hair is a derived character for the clade Mammalia, but four limbs is not derived for mammals. If it were, only mammals would have four limbs!
17 Derived Characters Specialized shearing teeth is a derived character for the clade Carnivora—of which both the coyote and lion are members. Neither hair nor four limbs is a derived character for this clade. Retractable claws is a derived character for the clade Felidae (the cats). Notice that lions have this trait, but coyotes do not.
18 Losing Traits Because distantly related groups of organisms can lose the same character, systematists are cautious about using the absence of a trait as a derived character. For example, both whales and snakes have lost the tetrapod character of four limbs—but they are not very closely related. Snakes are members of the clade Reptilia, while whales are members of the clade Mammalia.
19 Reading Cladograms This cladogram shows a simplified phylogeny of the cat family.
20 Reading Cladograms The lowest node represents the last common ancestor of all four-limbed animals—members of the clade Tetrapoda.
21 Reading Cladograms The forks show the order in which various groups branched off over the course of evolution.
22 Reading Cladograms The positions of the derived characters on the cladogram reflect the order in which those characteristics arose in this lineage.
23 Reading Cladograms The trait of four limbs, for example, appeared before the trait of hair in the history of the cat’s lineage.
24 Reading Cladograms Each derived character defines a clade. Hair, for example, is a defining character for the clade Mammalia.
25 Reading Cladograms Retractable claws is a derived character shared only by members of the clade Felidae.
26 Reading Cladograms Derived characters that appear “lower” on the cladogram than the branch point for a clade are not derived for that particular clade. Hair, for example, is not a derived character for the clade Carnivora.
27 Reading Cladograms Smaller clades are nested within the larger clades. Clade Amniota is part of the larger clade Tetrapoda.
28 Clades and Traditional Taxonomic GroupsA clade must be monophyletic. This means that it contains an ancestral species and all of its descendants, and no species that are not descendants of that ancestor. Cladistic analysis shows that many traditional taxonomic groups do form valid clades. Linnaean class Mammalia, for example, corresponds to clade Mammalia.
29 Clades and Traditional Taxonomic GroupsIn other cases, however, traditional groups do not form valid clades. Today’s reptiles are all descended from a common ancestor. Modern birds, however, are also descended from that ancestor. Linnaean class Reptilia, which does not include birds, is therefore not a valid clade.
30 Clades and Traditional Taxonomic Groups
31 Clades and Traditional Taxonomic GroupsTwo clades do include the birds: clade Aves, (the birds themselves), and clade Reptilia. Therefore, according to cladistics, a bird is a reptile!
32 DNA in Classification How are DNA sequences used in classification?
33 DNA in Classification How are DNA sequences used in classification?In general, the more derived genetic characters two species share, the more recently they shared a common ancestor and the more closely they are related in evolutionary terms.
34 Genes as Derived CharactersAll organisms carry genetic information in their DNA passed on from earlier generations. A wide range of organisms share a number of genes and show important homologies that can be used to determine evolutionary relationships.
35 Genes as Derived CharactersAll eukaryotic cells, for example, have mitochondria, and all mitochondria have their own genes. Because all genes mutate over time, shared genes contain differences that can be treated as derived characters in cladistic analysis. For that reason, similarities and differences in DNA can be used to develop hypotheses about evolutionary relationships. This suggests that American vultures are more closely related to storks than to other vultures.
36 New Techniques Suggest New TreesThe use of DNA characters in cladistic analysis has helped to make evolutionary trees more accurate. For example, traditionally African vultures and American vultures were classified together in the falcon family. Molecular analysis, however, showed that DNA from American vultures is more similar to the DNA of storks than it is to the DNA of African vultures.
37 New Techniques Suggest New TreesOften, scientists use DNA evidence when anatomical traits alone can’t provide clear answers. For example, giant pandas and red pandas share many characteristics with both bears and raccoons.
38 New Techniques Suggest New TreesDNA analysis revealed that the giant panda shares a more recent common ancestor with bears than with raccoons. Therefore, the giant panda has been placed in a clade with bears. Red pandas, however, are in a clade with raccoons and other animals like weasels and seals.