Home > POV, Useful > Dog Evolution and Information Design

Dog Evolution and Information Design


UCLA just published an evolutionary tree of dog breeds. To somebody who isn’t trained in evolution or biology the image below may just be a colorful wheel with dog names and pictures. However, the design of the information helps for a better reading.

In evolution, dealing with complex networks of information is problematic and the published results should be digestible by scientists and common audiences. Otherwise what is the purpose of outreach? It is thus important to visually break down the information.

The representation of the evolutionary tree of dog breeds using colors, pictures and names is efficient for audiences that know how to read this type of diagram and for those who simply look and extract as much information as they can. Without needing to understand how the architecture of the tree represents the evolution of dog breeds and their relationship to wolves, it is easy to read the following:

  • Same branch colors group closely related dog breeds.
  • The images (together with the colored captions) signal where that specific type of breed could be found in the tree.
  • Deep in the middle of the ‘tree’ there is a common ancestor from which dogs and wolves evolved.
  • Interestingly, the modern classification of dog breeds follows the evolutionary history of dogs.
  • Although the image doesn’t has a time scale, it could be safe to assume that the diversification of most breeds happened rather late, in comparison to when dogs split from wolves.

Enjoy the evolution of dogs!

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Categories: POV, Useful
  1. August 11, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Why can’t you put the LINK to the original paper? Do you think cannot have access to real science?

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