It’s like the Google Earth of Evolution: OneZoom tree of life explorer enables you to navigate on all the leaves and branches of life on Earth, and how all the species are related. Using the tool, you can go back (or forward) in time via common ancestors.
The OneZoom software allows you to explore the tree of life in a completely new way that is similar to viewing a geographical map. Every life form that is alive, or has ever been alive has a place somewhere.
According to creators, the data used to construct the main tree is from a hand-crafted mix of different sources but relies heavily on the Open Tree of Life project.
OneZoom Tree of Life
On the tool, Each leaf of the tree represents a different species and as of February 2022, there are 2,235,076 species (and 105,347 images) are available. The branches show how these many species evolved from common ancestors over billions of years. In this interactive tree of life, on a single zoomable page., you can explore the relationships between all these species and wonder at 105,347 images on a single zoomable page.
The website offers some popular places to start exploring, like humans (most of us would probably start from there), elephants, beetles, and oak. Red leaves show species known to be under threat of extinction, like cheetahs. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of red leaves on the tree of life.
The leaves shown in green represent species that are known to be okay for now (not under threat of extinction). Most of the leaves are grey meaning that their risk of extinction is not known.
The redness of a leaf also shows the degree of pressure on that particular species:
- Green and up: least concern
- Green and parallel to the ground: near threatened
- Borders are dark red, the leaf is light red, and the leaf is up: vulnerable
- Borders are dark red, the leaf is light red, and the leaf is parallel to the ground: endangered
- The leaf is dark red and about to fall: critically endangered
- Black but still attached to the branch: extinct in the wild
- Black and not attached to any branch (a black disc): globally extinct
As you explore the tree of life, you can click on the creatures you see to quickly reveal information from other resources such as Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia of Life. So you need to look no further whenever you want to find out more about the diversity of life on earth.
Here are some example uses of the tool:
There are also many different ways to look at the same tree of life apart from the default spiral view. They all show the same information, though.
According to creators, there are so many species on the OneZoom Tree of Life that if it were printed, the paper would span our entire solar system at least sixty times over! And remember that our solar system is huge!
Become a sponsor
OneZoom is a registered non-profit in the UK, all our products are available for free. As of February 2022, 752 people like you have helped us by making donations. Their names have appeared as sponsors on 1360 leaves. Only one name per leaf, so get your favorite while you can, for yourself, or as a gift.
Related: Is Evolution “just a theory”?
- OneZoom tree of life explorer website
- “The Google Earth of Biology – Visually Stunning Tree of All Known Life Unveiled Online” on the Sci Tech Daily website