This "tree of life" is the earliest known version that incorporates paleontological and geological information.

Edward Hitchcock (1793 – 1864) saw God as the agent of change. He explicitly rejected evolution and a religious six-day creation. He perceived that new species were introduced by a Deity at the right time in the history of the earth. After Charles Darwin (1859) published his On the Origin of Species, a tree of life image was generally interpreted as an evolutionary tree.

Paleontology is the scientific study of life that excisted prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils to classify organisms and study their interactions with each other and their environments.