This style is easiest for most people to understand and encourages the fewest misconceptions.
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Evolutionary time flows from the root of the tree (earlier times) towards the tips (more recent times).
Represent the ancestor that all the lineages whose branches join at that point have in common.
Here, point 1 is the most recent ancestor that flies and butterflies have in common. Point 2 is the ancestor that flies, butterflies, and beetles have in common. Point 3 is the ancestor that all the lineages have in common.
Represents evolutionary relationships.
Tells you how closely related different groups are.
Here, flies and butterflies are more closely related to each other than either is to beetles because their branches join more recently than either joins the beetles' branch. All the insect groups are related to one another, but some are more closely related than others.
Represent groups of organisms.
Here, each tip is a major group of insects.
Represents the ancestor that all the lineages on the tree have in common.