Describing the diversity of living beings has always instigated man. The classification proposed by Aristotle today seems naïve and unnatural, but it lasted from ancient Greece until the publication of the Linnaeus Systema Naturae in 1758. Although quite accurate, the taxonomic classification proposed by naturalist Carl Linnaeus did not consider the evolutionary relationships between living beings. This view, although prior to Charles Darwin, only gained deserved prominence after On the Origin of Species. Only in the twentieth century, a new area founded by Hennig, phylogenetic systematics was implemented, and with this, a series of useful methods in the construction of phylogenetic trees arose, as maximum parsimony, neighbor joining, UPGMA, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. With the advancement of information technology, phylogenetic analyses have become more sophisticated and faster. The algorithms used in the analysis programs have become more complex and realistic, favoring the addition of substitution models. The application of these data and the greater facility in generating nucleotide and amino acid sequences allowed the comparison previously unimaginable, for example, between bacteria and eukaryotes. In this way, the history of the advances of phylogenetic knowledge is confused with the greater knowledge about the origin of life.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Phylogenetics