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(klədĭs`tĭks) or

phylogenetic systematics

(fī'lōjənĕt`ĭk), an approach to the classificationclassification,
in biology, the systematic categorization of organisms into a coherent scheme. The original purpose of biological classification, or systematics, was to organize the vast number of known plants and animals into categories that could be named, remembered, and
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 of living things in which organisms are defined and grouped by the possession of one or more shared characteristics (called characters) that are derived from a common ancestor and that were not present in any ancestral group (as envisioned by Charles DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert,
1809–82, English naturalist, b. Shrewsbury; grandson of Erasmus Darwin and of Josiah Wedgwood. He firmly established the theory of organic evolution known as Darwinism.
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's idea of "descent with modification"). Developed by Willi Hennig, a German entomologist, in the 1950s, it is a method of reconstructing evolutionary relationships that emphasizes the importance of descent and common ancestry rather than chronology.

Cladistics places species in a group, or clade, based on a shared character. Within a clade, species that share other characters unique to them are grouped together, and so on, until a cladogram (a branching diagram that resembles a family tree) is assembled. For example, all vertebrates make up a clade; all tetrapods (vertebrates that have four limbs with wrists, ankles, toes, and fingers) form their own clade within the vertebrate clade. In this example the vertebrate clade would be considered "primitive" and the tetrapod clade "derived" or "advanced." In living creatures genetic characters or behaviors as well as more obvious anatomical features might be considered in assembling a cladogram. In paleontologypaleontology
[Gr.,= study of early beings], science of the life of past geologic periods based on fossil remains. Knowledge of the existence of fossils dates back at least to the ancient Greeks, who appear to have regarded them as the remains of various mythological creatures.
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 the characters are necessarily skeletal.

Cladistics is especially significant in paleontology, as it points out gaps in the fossil evidence. It is also felt to be more objective than fossil study, which of necessity extrapolates from a limited number of finds that may or may not be representative of the whole.

See also fossilfossil,
remains or imprints of plants or animals preserved from prehistoric times by the operation of natural conditions. Fossils are found in sedimentary rock, asphalt deposits, and coal and sometimes in amber and certain other materials.
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; datingdating,
the determination of the age of an object, of a natural phenomenon, or of a series of events. There are two basic types of dating methods, relative and absolute.
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Biology a method of grouping animals that makes use of lines of descent rather than structural similarities
References in periodicals archive ?
Monophyly of Espeletiinae, with the neotropical genus Ichtyothere asa possible sister taxon, is supported by two molecular studies using chloroplast and nuclear DNA markers (Panero et al.
Isolates A, D, G, and F constituted one monophyletic group, but isolate E was a sister taxon to the rest of the entire Trametes clade.
meseres is neither a flabelligerid ingroup taxon nor the sister taxon of Therochaeta collarifera are significantly worse than the best hypothesis.
Generally placed as the sister taxon of the Crocodylia crown group, it still needs a more comprehensive revision for a precise phylogenetic standing (Buscalioni et al.
Within the family Harrimaniidae, Harrimania is a sister taxon to Stereobalanus (Reinhard, 1942) a conclusion based on the shared presence of paired protocoel ducts and pores.
The sequence LCR/09-303 is a sister taxon to sequences GQ287641 and GQ287642, with poor support (Figure, panel B) (online Appendix Table, www.
However, when studying the 6 MPTs, obtained by re-running the unchanged data matrix of Muller and Tsuji (2007) with the specified settings, the position of Nyctiphruretus is one of two: (1) it is the sister taxon of the clade including the other non-pareiasaur Mezen River parareptiles, procolophonoids and pareiasaurs, or (2) it is the sister taxon of a clade including all the above mention taxa and the bolosaurids.
Within this group, the family has been assigned to the order Canellales (APG II, 2003; Cronquist, 1957) or Winterales (Doyle & Endress, 2000), andas sister taxon to Winteraceae (Doyle & Endress, 2000; Soltis et al.
Because of the complete absence of locomotory cilia in Nematoda, in conjunction with several other morphological characters, we agree with Lorenzen (1985) that the Nematoda is, at best, a sister taxon to the Gastrotricha.
Only two dispersal events are required under an alternative arrangement in which coronatus is the sister taxon to (borealis magnirostris, and tenellipes).
Brasiliocroton mamoninha is the sister taxon to all of Croton, and its ITS sequence is close enough to Croton to allow unambiguous alignment.