Cladogram vs. Phylogenetic Tree: What’s The Difference Between Cladogram and Phylogenetic Tree?

What are the differences between a cladogram and a phylogenetic tree? These two diagrams are used to show the relationships between different groups of organisms, but they each have their own unique features. Read more here.
Cladogram vs. Phylogenetic Tree: 5 Key Differences, Description

Cladogram vs. Phylogenetic Tree: phylogeny and evolution these words are both very closely related to each other and help for the description of characteristics and relationships of various organisms.

Evolution describes a particular group of organisms and how they might have evolved, selected, and developed throughout the timeline. On the other hand, Phylogeny means the development of an organism in history.

Biologists have constructed different diagrams over time to show the various relationships between organisms. The Cladogram tree and Phylogenetic tree are two such diagrams that are developed to show the relationship between various organisms.

The main difference between a phylogenetic tree and a cladogram tree is that a cladogram tree always shows the relationship between various organisms only concerning an ancestor, which is common, while a phylogenetic tree always shows the relationship between various organisms concerning the time of their evolution and the amount of change that was noticed among them with time.

The Main Difference Between Cladogram And Phylogenetic Tree

Both phylogenetic and cladogram trees are two different types of evolutionary trees that have shown the relationship between an organism group named taxa. A phylogeny tree is also called an evolutionary tree.

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Every branch of these evolutionary trees represents some descending amount of taxa from an ancestor in common. The tree nodes represent the ancestors in common with the descendants. Those descendants are called sister groups which are separated from the same node. These sister groups are, again, close relatives of one another.

When a taxon is separated from an ancestor in common, it is called an outgroup. Coming to the main difference between phylogenetic and cladogram trees, the cladogram has branches at an equal distance which shows the relationship between an evolutionary tree and a  group of clades, whereas a phylogenetic tree is also an evolutionary tree that shows some estimated distance of phylogeny in case the distance of each branch is in proportion to the amount of evolutionary change that has inferred.

What Is A Cladogram?

What Is A Cladogram? A cladogram can be defined as a diagram that represents shows the relationship between the organisms that are closely related to each other. It can be considered a sort of phylogenetic tree. However, it shows the relationships between the common ancestor with clades only. For example, a cladogram does not show the time of evolution and the accurate distance from the ancestors in common, but it shows that compared to gorillas, humans are more loosely related to chimpanzees. A cladogram is a tree-like diagrammatic representation that can best be drawn using lines. Each node of a cladogram represents two groups splitting from an ancestor in common. At the ends of the lines, clades are summarized, and the members of a unique clade share some similar characteristics. Instead of morphological characteristics, clades are built using molecular differences. However, the construction of cladograms can also be done using the correct behavioral and morphological data. A clade can be considered a group of organisms that comprises all the evolutionary descendants from an ancestor in common. A cladogram can not depict the change in evolution in the group. It also cannot indicate the genetic distance or the time of evolution. At the end of every branch of the cladogram, there is a clade. It begins with the last ancestor in common. Usually, on the morphological characters, Cladograms are formed.

A cladogram can be defined as a diagram that represents shows the relationship between the organisms that are closely related to each other. It can be considered a sort of phylogenetic tree. However, it shows the relationships between the common ancestor with clades only. For example, a cladogram does not show the time of evolution and the accurate distance from the ancestors in common, but it shows that compared to gorillas, humans are more loosely related to chimpanzees.

A cladogram is a tree-like diagrammatic representation that can best be drawn using lines. Each node of a cladogram represents two groups splitting from an ancestor in common. At the ends of the lines, clades are summarized, and the members of a unique clade share some similar characteristics. Instead of morphological characteristics, clades are built using molecular differences.

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However, the construction of cladograms can also be done using the correct behavioral and morphological data. A clade can be considered a group of organisms that comprises all the evolutionary descendants from an ancestor in common. A cladogram can not depict the change in evolution in the group. It also cannot indicate the genetic distance or the time of evolution. At the end of every branch of the cladogram, there is a clade. It begins with the last ancestor in common. Usually, on the morphological characters, Cladograms are formed.

What Is A Phylogenetic Tree?

What Is A Phylogenetic Tree? The study of the Phylogenetic tree is useful to get the answers to different problems in biological evolution, like the relationship between the origin and survival of the species, patterns of migration of species, the spread of viral infections, etc. Some advanced molecular and biological techniques help biologists for the evaluation of phylogenetic relationships between organisms concerning the change in the evolution of the organisms. A diagram that shows the relationship between organisms as per their genetic background, characteristics, and evolutionary relationships is called a phylogenetic tree. In comparison to a cladogram, the phylogenetic tree imparts some more value when we discuss the relationships of organisms in a better way concerning their evolution and ancestors. Biologists analyze various characteristics of organisms with the use of various analytical tools like distance, parsimony, bayesian methods, likelihood, etc. They have the consideration of many organisms’ characteristics, like the inclusion of anatomical, morphological, biochemical, behavioral, fossil, and molecular characteristics for the construction of phylogenetic trees. In order, the generation of a phylogenetic tree, various characteristics like internal anatomy, external morphology, DNA and protein sequence behavior, biochemical pathways as well as evidence of fossils need to be used. Whereas phylogenetic trees are a type of hypothesis which do not indicate accurate relationships. The data that is obtained from the sequencing of DNA enhances the reliability of the relationships inside the tree.

The study of the Phylogenetic tree is useful to get the answers to different problems in biological evolution, like the relationship between the origin and survival of the species, patterns of migration of species, the spread of viral infections, etc. Some advanced molecular and biological techniques help biologists for the evaluation of phylogenetic relationships between organisms concerning the change in the evolution of the organisms.

A diagram that shows the relationship between organisms as per their genetic background, characteristics, and evolutionary relationships is called a phylogenetic tree. In comparison to a cladogram, the phylogenetic tree imparts some more value when we discuss the relationships of organisms in a better way concerning their evolution and ancestors.

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Biologists analyze various characteristics of organisms with the use of various analytical tools like distance, parsimony, bayesian methods, likelihood, etc. They have the consideration of many organisms’ characteristics, like the inclusion of anatomical, morphological, biochemical, behavioral, fossil, and molecular characteristics for the construction of phylogenetic trees.

In order, the generation of a phylogenetic tree, various characteristics like internal anatomy, external morphology, DNA and protein sequence behavior, biochemical pathways as well as evidence of fossils need to be used. Whereas phylogenetic trees are a type of hypothesis which do not indicate accurate relationships. The data that is obtained from the sequencing of DNA enhances the reliability of the relationships inside the tree.

5 Key Differences Between A Cladogram And A Phylogenetic Tree

BasisCladogramPhylogenetic Tree
DefinitionCladogram can be defined as a branching diagram that shows the relationships among a specific group of cladesPhylogenetic tree is a diagram of the branch that shows the relationship which is inferred between different biological species as per the differences and similarities in genetic and/or physical characteristics
RelatednessThe cladogram shape depicts the relationships among a group of organismsThe amount of evolutionary change that has been inferred is determined by the distance of the branch
Evolutionary Time or Genetic DistanceCladogram does not represent the genetic distance or the time of evolutionPhylogenetic tree represents the genetic distance between the group of organisms and the time of evolution
Evolutionary HistoryAbout the actual history of evolution, the cladogram represents a hypothesisThe true history of evolution is represented by the Phylogenetic tree to some extent
BasisCladogram is based on the depicted morphological characters of the organismsNot only on morphological characters, but a Phylogenetic tree is also based on the genetic relationships of the organisms to be depicted

Comparison Chart

What are the differences between a cladogram and a phylogenetic tree? These two diagrams are used to show the relationships between different groups of organisms, but they each have their own unique features. Read more here

Comparison Video

How to Analyze Cladograms & Phylogenetic Trees?

Conclusion

A cladogram can be defined as a diagram showing the relationship between various organisms based on their similarities. A phylogenetic tree can be considered as a diagram showing the phylogenetic history of organisms as per the geological time scale. There is a representation of the history of evolution and possible relationships among organisms by them. This is the key difference between a phylogenetic and a cladogram tree.

Alex Stantor

Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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