bang wong > post

Art-Science

Phylogenetic mobile of sequenced mammals

Phylogenetic trees show evolutionary relationships between animals. We have created a phylogenetic mobile of the 30 mammals whose genomes have been sequenced. The edge length of phylogenetic trees encode evolutionary time estimate, this relationship is preserved in the mobile. The three-dimensional mobile exposes a weakness in the 2D representation. It is a common misconception to associate adjacency with relatedness (i.e., animals listed next to each other are closely related). Where in fact, these animals may trace back to different branches; in the 3D model, animals belonging to different branches swing further apart.

The full-size sculpture, measuring 18 ft. (3.5 m) in diameter, hangs in the lobby of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA.

The mobile was designed with Peter Agoos.

A typical representation of phylogenetic (or evolutionary) relationship of animals. Source: wikipedia

Scaled model. Photo: Bang Wong

Full-size mobile. Photo: Len Rubenstein

Full-size mobile. Photo: Len Rubenstein