This is the kind of basic information that everyone should know.
Some of the words on this link go to sub-trees, but most of them go to pictures of example animals.
- Phylogeny of the mammals. Four major branches of mammals are defined:
- Afrotheria: a diverse group of mammals originating in Africa
- Xenarthra: a group once included in the order Edentata (anteaters, armadillos and sloths).
- Euarchontoglires: a group that includes the Primates and the Glires (Rabbits + Rodents) as sister taxa.
- Laurasiatheria: includes the Ungulate orders (Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla), Carnivores, Pangolins, Bats and Insectivores.
Physiology of the unglates:
Note that the closest living relative of whales are hippos! Since the discovery of transitional fossils linking whales to the hoofed animals, orders Artiodactyla and Cetacea have been combined into Cetartiodactyla.
Also check out
- family tree of primates
- family tree of birds
- family tree of reptiles
- family tree of tetrapods
- family tree of (most) fish AKA basal vertebrates. Jawless fish are omitted but sharks are included.
Trees like these were originally devised to trace similar characteristics between species and to systematically group them into more or less similar. Only later was it realized that these trees also represent bonds of common ancestry.