Tree of Life poster
March 9, 2017 12:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm searching for a good large Tree of Life poster that I can get custom framed for a wall or laminated for a curious child to examine up close so she can visually grasp the theory of evolution. So far I've only found A3 size and graphic-designed to be pretty not accurate. I can get a digital file printed A0 size if needed.

I've drawn a rough sketch in chalk over our floor, and shown her animations but she is asking repeatedly for a giant poster so she can see when dinosaurs branch off from crocodiles in common ancestors, when humans and gorillas share a great(x)-grandmother, etc, how far back trees and bugs evolved, that level of detail. It would be great to have visuals but text labels are sufficient.
posted by dorothyisunderwood to Shopping (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Look for "phylogenetic tree" instead of "tree of life" to get search results tending more towards "accurate" than "pretty". However, keep in mind that there is no single definite version of the "final" tree. This is an ongoing field of research and different methods of determining how organisms are historically related can give some slightly different results. It shouldn't make a difference for getting the message across that there are many species and that they share common ancestors.
posted by easternblot at 4:21 AM on March 9, 2017

Here are the vertebrates, which seems like a nice place to start with the concept. She/you might also really like Grandmother Fish.
posted by teremala at 5:03 AM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think you're having a hard time finding a poster because there is just too much information to fit on it. Show her OneZoom, which is an interactive evolutionary tree. For an example of how deep it goes, click the ladybug picture, and keep following it all the way until the end.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:16 AM on March 9, 2017

You might take a look at the timetree of life. It's not actually tree shaped, because it's way too much information to represent on a tree. They have downloads of all the images and a link to a poster for sale here
posted by brainmouse at 7:38 AM on March 9, 2017

I too have been looking for something like this and not finding it. The best & easiest I've located is this poster (link from AMNH shop but apparently available elsewhere too). Not perfect; it sacrifices a lot of detail to get pictures of various representative flora and fauna in, but it still has the basic tree shape and big branching points.
posted by miles per flower at 8:04 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Came to link to the same AMNH poster - at the museum, they always refer to it as a cladogram, which seems to pull up a lot of images as well.
posted by Mchelly at 1:52 PM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

For an actual poster, I would do a google image search for phylogenetic tree poster or evolutionary tree poster.

Just as an example, see this press release from the natural history museum at the University of Florida.

It discusses an event last year in which a portion of the Tree of Life (the flowering plants - angiosperms) was hung from a building, and it was 140 feet long. The complete tree would be 400 times larger.

Here are some other online resources:
posted by czytm at 6:26 AM on March 10, 2017

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