Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Adaptive Breakthrough

Evolution of a way of life radically different from that of a recent common ancestor, which sometimes results in a perceived paraphyletic higher taxonomic group, such as birds, which then evolved rapidly from a common ancestor after achieving flight. The phrase could apply as well to certain hominids which, because of increased encephalization, are classified in the genus Homo rather than as australopithecines.

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