Tree of Life

It's no wonder trees have a prominent place in human myths, especially the tree of life. In the Norse mythology, the tree is called Yggdrasil, and is an enormous ash with big roots drinking water from three wells.
From Amsterdam 2016
In 1872, Charles Darwin used the expression Tree of Life as a metaphor for the phylogenetic tree of common descent in the evolutionary sense. Since then, the tree has been drawn in various ways and is still being revised, now based on genetics. The modern tree does not speak of kingdoms but of supergroups who's names you've never heard of: Opisthokonts, Excavates, Amoebozoa, SAR (Stramenopiles, Alveolates and Rhizaria), and Archaeplastids. Guess which one you belong to!

There are several open source initiative targeting species taxonomy issues. For example, The Tree of Life Web Project is a collaborative effort of biologists and nature enthusiasts from around the world who provide information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history.
From Mölnlycke Winter 2016
The Open Tree of Life is funded by the National Science Foundation. It aims to construct a comprehensive, dynamic and digitally-available tree of life by synthesizing published phylogenetic trees along with taxonomic data.

David Attenborough has partnered with BBC and the Wellcome Trust in an interactive version of the Tree of Life. Here you can find a video with him talking about Charles Darwin and the tree of life.
From Brännö 2016
In 2015, National Geographic put out a Tree of Life assignment in their Your Shot department. The task was "to photograph what the Tree of Life means to you, to your community, to your culture, to your world". The instructions were as follows:
  • "Become silent in order to listen. 
  • Slow down. 
  • Visit the same tree on different days, in different light, among various activities, and during different hours.
  • Get close, climb, sit below or on top, and move far away. 
  • Let your perspective change by moving yourself and not the zoom of your lens.
Remember: It's inevitable that something that has been around as long as trees will teach us. This assignment is about looking, becoming silent, listening, learning, and teaching. That which reflects us also reflects our world. Let your trees be a mirror for your world."

For me and my Mum, ashes are weeds and we kill them off as much as we can in our little wood at Ekkullen. However, big ones like the one at the cemetery nearby are beautiful. Their leafs are always late and they are the first to go in the fall. Makes you want to join the Dendrologists.
From Photo Competition 2015

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