Phylogenetic comparative methods  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Phylogenetic comparative methods (PCMs) use information on the historical relationships of lineages (phylogenies) to test evolutionary hypotheses. The comparative method has a long history in evolutionary biology; indeed, Charles Darwin used differences and similarities between species as a major source of evidence in The Origin of Species. However, the fact that closely related lineages share many traits and trait combinations as a result of the process of descent with modification means that lineages are not independent. This realization inspired the development of explicitly phylogenetic comparative methods.

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