How can a phylogenetic tree be used to make predictions?
A phylogenetic tree is a chart that shows the ancestry of any living being. Two organisms can be relatively close to each other on the tree, but share no common ancestry. This is a result of converging evolution , which means although these organisms' eventually developed similar characteristics, these evolutions were a cause of their environment, and not due to a common ancestor.
Likewise, two organisms from the same ancestry in a phylogenetic tree can have very different characterists, in what is refered to as divergent evolution . Knowing this, and keeping in mind that both ancestry and enviromental factors play a key role in a species' evolution , one can predict evolutionary trends based on each organism's enviromental needs and genetic capability.