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What is datelife?

datelife is an R package that allows researchers and the general audience to obtain open scientific data on the age of any organism they are interested in. datelife retrieves organism ages from a database of dated phylogenetic trees (chronograms), which have been peer-reviewed and published in association with a scientific research article in an indexed journal (Open Tree of Life’s tree store). As such, these organism ages constitute state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed, public scientific knowledge, that can be accessed and reused by experts and non-experts in the field alike.

How can you use datelife?

You can install the datelife R package on your own computer and use it locally.

If you do not want to deal with installation, you can go to DateLife’s interactive website application.

Local installation of the datelife R package

datelife’s most recent stable version can be installed with:


datelife’s previous stable versions are available for installation from the CRAN repository. For example, to install version 0.6.1, you can run:

devtools::install_version("datelife", version="0.6.1")

You can install datelife’s development version from its GitHub repository with:


Citing datelife

If you use datelife for a publication, please cite the R package and the accompanying paper:

O’Meara B, Sanchez-Reyes L, Eastman J, Heath T, Wright A, Schliep K, Chamberlain S, Midford P, Harmon L, Brown J, Pennell M, Alfaro M (2022). datelife: Scientific Data on Time of Lineage Divergence for Your Taxa. R package version 0.6.2,

Sanchez-Reyes L, O’Meara B (2019). “datelife: Leveraging databases and analytical tools to reveal the dated Tree of Life.” bioRxiv, 782094.

You can get these citations and the bibtex entry with:



This package is free and open source software, licensed under GPL.


datelife has been developed as part of the phylotastic (NSF-funded) project, and is still under development.