Figure 3.

Increase in the maximum number of cell types throughout the history of life. Data points at time zero are from living taxa [1-3,50]; earlier data points were estimated with squared-change parsimony (solid circles) and linear parsimony (hollow circles) [51] using the molecular timetree (Fig. 2). The origin of life and divergence of archaebacteria and eubacteria were set at 4000 Ma and the origin of eukaryotes at 2700 Ma [27,28], although earlier values for those events would not affect the overall trend. We follow McShea [4] in using maximum values at any given time and assuming that decreases do not occur. Dashed line shows an alternate (conservative) interpretation based on uncertainty as to the level of complexity of ancestors of early branching eukaryotes.

Hedges et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2004 4:2   doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-2
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