Free «A Name by Any Other Tree» Essay Sample

The classification left some animals with an identity crisis. Hummingbirds and canaries have turned out to be closer to dinosaurs. Snakes and whales have been accepted as tetrapods despite lacking four feet (Thanukos 1). Elephants are in the worst situation because they seem lost: it is not clear whether they are ungulates or not. This confusion can only be associated with revolutionary gripping biology, known as phylogeny. This is the area of biology that specializes in evolutionary relationships among living things. With the advancements in technology flows of genetic data have been produced, computing power upgraded and new mathematical algorithms have been developed. This has been essential for building evolutionary trees. Generally, biologists have changed their ways of thinking as far as classification has been concerned.

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The most common system of classification is Linnaean, which consists of seven classes. It was created in 1700, long before the scientists even realized that life evolves. Consequently, biologists have adopted a new system of classification that is based on phylogeny. This system reflects the organism’s evolutionary history. Contrary to the earlier classification, phylogeny only allocates names to clades as opposed to phyla and families. This includes the ancestor and all the organisms descending from it. Therefore, a clade may include many species or just one. Birds are termed as dinosaurs because they have evolved from them. Snakes and whales are tetrapods because they evolved from four-legged organisms. However, more evidence is required to classify elephants as ungulates.

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Phylogenetic classification means a shift in the traditional ways of classification, but do not symbolize a radical change in organism’s names (Thanukos 2). Biologists have raised issues with Linnaean classification and have resolved to get rid of it. Evolution contains no foresight or future plans. Therefore, it cannot make efforts to churn body plans to generate a fount of a new order. It is disturbing why biologists lay much emphasis on the name given - that is just a word. The phylogenetic classification reflects on the evolutionary process that is said to have shaped life. Knowing the name of an organism one can generate a lot of information about its history.

Phylogenies have been widely accepted by biologists who have used it not only as a classification system, but also as a tool for research. It provides scientific knowledge regarding evolutionary relationships. In addition, they can be utilized to bring out new scientific knowledge. Phylogenetics can be used to identify the source of diseases, setting conservation priorities and investigating alleged crimes. It also helps people to understand how certain events trigger adaptive radiations.

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The traditional system of classification was based on visual and physical characteristics. Organisms with similar characteristics were put together in a particular category. Certainly, a new method of classification that traces the historical relationships has emerged. Phylogeny identifies an ancestral organism and links its lineage to one class. This means that organisms in a particular category have common genetic characteristics. Therefore, they are more related than those in Linnaean classification. I would recommend that phylogeny was adopted by biologists both in classification and research work. Positive and logical results are bound to be obtained using this system. Moreover, confusion about where to include some organisms will come to an end. However, phylogeny leaves one with some doubting questions. It would be logical to ask whether it is possible to identify the ancestors of all the organisms. Alternatively, one would wonder how the education system all over the world would be changed if to incorporate the new classification system. Will the traditional system be useful in any way? Answering to these questions would give an insight into the human’s and the whole world’s being.

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