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May 2005

Tree of Life
Visually appealing representation of the interconnectedness of life.
Grade Level: 9-12


The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) features more than 3,000 Web pages about the “diversity of organisms on Earth, their evolutionary history (phylogeny), and characteristics.” Included are photos, descriptions, and other information about the organisms of the world.
This beautifully designed site can be navigated in a number of ways. The main page contains a “tree of life” with pictures of different organisms that are links to information on that particular type of organism, or a user can browse by using the left-side menu that lists the various areas of the site. Users may also search for organisms by common or scientific name. Users can also customize the ToL site by choosing to include glossary entries in the pages, including more pictures on each page, and other options.

The Tree of Life site is a goldmine of information for biology teachers and students. Learn about echinoderms, tyrannosaurs, flowering plants, cephalopods, club fungi, and many, many more. Each page is designed to offer information for a particular group, and pages are linked to each other as an evolutionary tree of life illustrating the genetic connections between all living things. First-time visitors may want to begin with the Popular Pages section that offers links to the most popular groups on the tree of life, such as the vertebrates, insects, arachnids, and green plants. The Sample Pages link will help users understand the diversity of the pages and will help you quickly find the pages that are of most interest to you. For instance, if you are researching a specific group, you will find a list of pages that offer good introductions to the major groups and to some little-known groups. The Learning section offers information for teachers and students, a Treehouse (learning resource) builder, and a few “Treehouses” that are ready to use.


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