Almost 2/3 of Earth's biodiversity is bacteria

Almost 2/3 of Earth’s biodiversity is bacteria

A huge new ‘tree of life’ illustrates why it’s a small world after all.

Russell McLendon


In this new ‘tree of life’ diagram, bacteria dwarf everything else. For context, all plants, animals and other multicellular beings fit into the eukaryotes section at lower right. (Image: Jill Banfield and Laura Hug/UC Berkeley/University of Waterloo)

Humans excel at nearly everything but humility. We tend to see ourselves as the apex of evolution, ruling a planet we conquered long ago. Yet despite all our material wealth, and Madonna’s 1984 wisdom, we are living in a bacterial world. Read more.