We studied the importance of proper model assumption in the context of Bayesian phylogenetics by examining >5,000 Bayesian analyses and six nested models of nucleotide substitution. Model misspecification can strongly bias bipartition posterior probability estimates. These biases were most pronounced when rate heterogeneity was ignored. The type of bias seen at a particular bipartition appeared to be strongly influenced by the lengths of the branches surrounding that bipartition. In the Felsenstein zone, posterior probability estimates of bipartitions were biased when the assumed model was underparameterized but were unbiased when the assumed model was overparameterized. For the inverse Felsenstein zone, however, both underparameterization and overparameterization led to biased bipartition posterior probabilities, although the bias caused by overparameterization was less pronounced and disappeared with increased sequence length. Model parameter estimates were also affected by model misspecification. Underparameterization caused a bias in some parameter estimates, such as branch lengths and the gamma shape parameter, whereas overparameterization caused a decrease in the precision of some parameter estimates. We caution researchers to assure that the most appropriate model is assumed by employing both a priori model choice methods and a posteriori model adequacy tests.