Visual Family Tree of Existence
"The idea that one can go to the fossil record and expect to empirically recover an ancestor-descendant sequence, be it of species, genera, families, or whatever, has been, and continues to be, a pernicious illusion."
Gareth J. Nelson
Use caution; check the data before you use it. NOTE: the information presented throughout this section of my website has NOT been reviewed by any person or organization. All information has been gathered and/or synthesized by me. I am doing my best to provide accurate data however, if you use material from this website for any reason, I would advise you do so with EXTREME CAUTION as there is a good chance that omissions, errors and/or outdated information may exist.
This section of The Dinosaur Fan is an amateur’s attempt to provide a visual family tree (i.e., cladogram *) of life on Earth. The cladistic basis for almost everything in this section is from The Taxonomicon with augmentation from various Wikipedia articles as needed. Additional resources utilized from time to time are listed below.

I added this section of the website for fun and out of my own curiosity to see if I can do it. During the years since I added life form information to my site, I’ve navigated through a dozen or so cladistic websites, most of which provide encyclopedic family tree listings; many including information down to the genus and species levels. But what struck me during my travels through these sites is how difficult it is for an amateur like myself to know what life forms are being mapped. For example, as you browse through the “Insecta” class of invertebrates, you’ll eventually run into a family of insects called “Coccinellidae”. What is that? I don’t know. So, I have to open another browser tab and look it up. Turns out to be the insect family containing ladybugs. How much easier would it be to understand if the cladograms included a representative image of the critters listed in each branch of the family tree?

So, with that in mind, I thought it would be an enjoyable and informative exercise to place a ‘visual canopy’ over the cladistics so that I (and visitors with the interest) could see what lifeforms are being represented by each branch of the cladogram. “A picture is worth a thousand words” as they say. This is ‘eye candy’ for those who appreciate the vastness of life on Earth; past and present. There is very little detail about the clads or the life forms themselves. I leave that to the array of peer-reviewed, scientifically scrutinized sites to which we all have access including, but not limited to, The Taxonomicon, Wikipedia, and the sites listed below.

I am attempting to include images of at least a couple genera for each branch of the cladogram and I hope to include images of all members of some branches of particular interest such as the dinosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, etc. From a hobby perspective, I also provide links to life forms for which I have collectibles in this website. This is a work-in-progress which began mid-November 2021. Whether or not I’ll complete this visual cladogram before I myself become ‘extinct’ remains to be seen.

I hope you enjoy.

*A cladogram is a branching diagram representing the minimum (i.e., core) derived characteristics within supposedly related groups of life forms (e.g., animals). The cladogram provides a visual aid for the development of a hypothesis of the evolutionary closeness (kinship) of the various groups of life forms. In other words, a cladogram can be used to visualize hypotheses (educated guesses) as to which groups of life forms are more closely related to each other than to other groups of life forms. A cladogram is not a representation of the path that evolution took in producing various life forms. The branching pattern of a cladogram is intended to show the relative relationships among various life forms but in most cases it does not show a true "evolutionary tree" for those life forms.

Current Family Tree Branches & Images
KingdomQty. of Terminating BranchesQty. of Images
* ‘Termination Branch’ is essentially the ‘orange’ buttons on the family trees. It is the endpoint of a branch limb (i.e., the lowest taxonomic rank at which I chose to stop). These vary depending on the life forms being traced but I am trying to take each branch down to the Order level.


  1. The circular, green-tinted ‘organizational chart’ symbol is a link back to the previous branch/page that got you to your current location.
  2. The blue-tinted buttons are static informational labels.
  3. The orange-tinted buttons are links to life form images applicable to that particular branch. These are the termination endponts of each branch.
  4. The gray-tinted buttons indicate that I have not yet found a genus specific to the group.
  5. The green-tinted buttons with the branching symbol are links to related branches/pages in the cladogram.

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