The Phylogenetic Mobile. Phylogenetic trees show evolutionary relationships between animals. We have created a phylogenetic mobile of the 30 mammals whose genomes have been sequenced. The edge length of phylogenetic trees encode evolutionary time estimate, this relationship is preserved in the mobile. The three-dimensional mobile exposes a weakness in the 2D representation. It is a common misconception to associate adjacency with relatedness (i.e., animals listed next to each other are closely related). Where in fact, these animals may trace back to different branches; in the 3D model, animals belonging to different branches swing further apart.

The full-size sculpture, measuring 18 ft. (3.5 m) in diameter, hangs in the lobby of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA.

The mobile was designed with Peter Agoos.


If you stand in the lobby of the Broad Institute, it's hard not to notice the movement of mammals above your head.

This video includes footage of the phylogenetic mobile and facts that we've learned by comparing and analyzing these genomes. Music from Camille Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals" performed by John Michel. Video courtesy of Nick Dua, Broad Communications