Smartphone App Can Help Determine If You’re More Like a Pig or a Rose

Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University and Sudhir Kumar of Arizona State University have created a new smartphone app called “TimeTree,” that allows exploration of the thousands of divergence times among organisms in the published literature. By simply entering two different organisms into the application you can easily compare when in time the two species diverged (calculated using gene mutations to measure time).

According to the website ( those most likely to find the search utility in TimeTree useful will be researchers who already have some knowledge of evolutionary biology and wish to mine the available published data. Nonethless, despite my limited evolutionary biology background I was easily able to ascertain that humans are much closer to pigs (we diverged 98.6 million years ago) than they are to roses (which diverged 1,457.8 million years ago). So I guess that comparing someone to a pig is a higher compliment than comparing them to a rose. After all, a person who is like a pig is much more evolved than a person who acts like a pig!

Thanks to genomeweb for bringing this story to my attention.

Hedges SB, Dudley J & Kumar S (2006) TimeTree: a public knowledge-base of divergence times among organisms. Bioinformatics 22:2971-2972

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