I know it doesn’t look that “giant” here, but I highly recommend checking out the larger version and getting your evolutionary trace on.
This isn’t my favorite Tree of Life diagram, though. That title goes to the Hillis Plot, which is just beautiful.
The Great Tree of Life – giant infographic lets you trace any branch back through time to see how it connects to any other of life’s major branches. More on the history of using tree-like diagrams to depict evolution.
Always a bit humbling to realize how insignificant we are on graphs like this. Short of actually destroying the planet, it will adapt regardless of what we do, and we will probably end up as another dead end. On the other hand, do we want to be the ones to finally mess it all up?
Also, I suppose it’s common sense that mass extinctions would be easily distinguishable. But the clarity across all domains of each extinction (especially 250-, 200-, and 65-million-years ago) is amazing. According to the Shiva hypothesis, we may be due for another one soon…besides the one we’re causing ourselves.