Astrobiology (general)

Discovering the Timetree of Life Symposium

By Keith Cowing
July 9, 2006

With NAI support, the Evolutionary Genomics Focus Group hosted a one-day symposium on Friday, May 26th, at Arizona State University. Blair Hedges (Penn State) organized the event, which featured 15 speakers from the U.S. and Europe and more than 100 participants, during the annual meeting for the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

A “timetree” is a phylogenetic tree of organisms scaled to geologic time. The speakers discussed the history of this field (molecular clocks), methodology, and the latest information from fossils and molecular data for prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Several speakers highlighted evolution in the Precambrian, including snowball Earth events. The meeting generated unusual enthusiasm, and a publisher who attended has invited a book on the topic. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻