Fish, Reconsidered: An Updated ‘Tree of Life’ Draws Surprising Connections

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October 30, 2023

In a major new work, Yale ichthyologist Thomas Near revises branches of the Tree of Life concerning most fish species based on the latest scientific knowledge. At first glance, tube-eyes and cods seem nothing alike. The former, a ribbon-shaped, deep-sea fish, has bizarre tubular eyes that resemble goggles. The latter, one of the world’s most commercially important fishes, has unremarkable looks but pairs well with French fries.

It turns out, however, that these seemingly dissimilar fishes are cousins, both members of the order Gadiformes, according to an updated and revised version of the fish Tree of Life co-authored by Yale evolutionary ichthyologist Thomas J. Near.

The updated version is described in an 800-page monograph forthcoming in the journal Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History. A pre-print of the monograph released in September has been downloaded more than 9,000 times and has made a big splash within the ichthyology community. For more information, click here for an article published by Yale News.

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