Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Phylogenetic Systematics

1. method of classification based upon the presence or absence of large numbers of traits or character states; sister groups are formed on the basis of sets of shared derived characters (synapomorphies), and species on the basis of unique derived characters (autapomorphies); size is ignored.

2. school of classification that employs phylogenetic hypotheses and uses recency of common ancestry as the sole criterion for grouping taxa. Aka cladistics; see clade and Hennig. One of the three main schools of biological classification; Cf. the evolutionary systematics of Ernst Mayr and others, and the numerical taxonomy of Sokal and Sneath.

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