Cladistic Phylogenetic Trees

The following phylogenetic tree shows the derivation  of common characteristics starting with a common ancestor and then gradually branching out into the three main groups of plants, fungi, and animals. Fish are most closely related to starfish and amphibians as seen below. Starfish do not share the common characteristics of jaws and vertebrate so they are less developed then fish and therefore placed on the left. Amphibians developed digits as well as jaws and vertebrate so they are to the right of fish and considered more advanced.



The following phylogenetic tree shows the relationship between the two orders found under the class Actinopterygii. The class is divided into lobe-finned fishes and spiny-finned fishes. The Freshwater Drum is a spiny-finned fish and a member of the order Perciformes. Cladistics along with molecular evidence was used to construct this phylogenetic tree. Cladistics is a method of constructing evolutionary relationships based on derived characteristics of organisms and the timeline in which those characteristics appeared. By studying this tree, the relationship between the Freshwater Drum and its relatives can be clarified. For more information about the Lake Sturgeon, one of the Drum's relatives, view the Interactions page on my website.

*Click on Photo to view enlarged tree~!

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