There’s a cool new Web site—and iPhone app—that could come in handy in a wide variety of circumstances. It’s called Time Tree. And it tells you how closely related any two organisms are over time. In other words, it’ll tell you what the available data say is the time since any two organisms shared a common ancestor. Time Tree is jointly run by Penn State’s Blair Hedges and Arizona State’s Sudhir Kumar.
So let’s say you’re out for a walk in the woods, with your iPhone handy, and you run into a grizzly bear. You quickly load the app and key in the two organisms you’re interested in. Those would be you, a human, and grizzly bear, the thing that’s approaching you alarmingly fast. In just a couple of seconds, you are informed that you and the grizzly bear shared a common ancestor just 98.2 million years ago.
If you have a computer and are just curious about the grizzly bear, go to timetree.org. The results average the findings of published papers relevant to your search and include links to the papers.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]