Glossary Term: Monophyletic

(Monophyletic taxon)

A group composed of a collection of organisms, including the most recent common ancestor of all those organisms and all the descendants of that most recent common ancestor. A monophyletic taxon is also called a clade.

In cladistics, a monophyletic group, or clade, is a group of organisms that consists of all the descendants of a common ancestor. Monophyletic groups are typically characterised by shared derived characteristics (synapomorphies), which distinguish organisms in the clade from other organisms. The arrangement of the members of a monophyletic group is called a monophyly.

Monophyly is contrasted with paraphyly and polyphyly.

A paraphyletic group consists of all of the descendants of a common ancestor minus one or more monophyletic groups.

A polyphyletic group is characterized by convergent features or habits of scientific interest (for example, night-active primates, fruit trees, aquatic insects). The features by which a polyphyletic group is differentiated from others are not inherited from a common ancestor.

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Created: 2019-04-07 21:49:41 06 (0600)
Last modified: 2019-08-07 00:07:01 06 (0600)