Glossary Term: Paraphyletic

(Paraphyly)

1. Composed of some but not all members descending from a common ancestor. Paraphyly is a term in cladistics. It means a group which does not include all its descendents. Paraphyly is characteristic of some groups of organisms and families, where one separates from other groups at a common origin point. In phylogenetics (a subfield of biology), a group is said to be paraphyletic if it consists of all the descendants of the last common ancestor of the group’s members – minus a small number of monophyletic groups of descendants, typically just one or two such groups. Such a group is said to be paraphyletic with respect to the excluded groups. Contrast the term paraphyletic with monophyletic and polyphyletic.

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Created: 2019-06-26 14:44:42 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2019-08-18 11:33:46 PDT (-0700)