THE QSO HOSTS I Zw 1 AND 3C 48: PROTOTYPES OF A MERGER-DRIVEN QUASAR EVOLUTION?
I Zw 1 and 3C 48 are two neighboring template objects at a later stage of the hypothesized merger-driven evolutionary sequence from ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) to quasi-stellar objects (QSOs). Since galaxy mergers are assumed to trigger the evolution, it is important to confirm the merger properties of transitionary objects. Using multi-wavelength observations and N-body simulations, the merger histories of I Zw 1 and 3C 48 have been investigated in two separate case studies. Here, the results from both studies are compared and their relevance for the evolutionary hypothesis is discussed.