Diagram showing the evolutionary interrelations of a group of organisms that usually originated from a shared ancestral form. The ancestor is in the tree trunk; organisms that have arisen from it are placed at the ends of tree branches. The distance of one group from the other groups indicates the degree of relationship; that is, closely related groups are located on branches close to one another. Though phylogenetic trees are speculative, they provide a convenient method for studying phylogenetic relationships and evolution. See also phylogeny.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on phylogenetic tree, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up phylogenetic tree? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.