Dictionary > Monophyletic

Monophyletic

Definition
adjective

Of, pertaining to, about, or describing that which descended from a single ancestral species

Supplement

The term is used to describe a phylum (or a group of taxa) in terms of evolutionary origin or phylogeny. Thus, the phrase “monophyletic group” pertains to a group of organisms (usually species) that are more closely related to each other than any other group. This, therefore, implies that they descended from a common ancestor. Typically, the monophyletic groups possess characteristics that they commonly share with one another as they inherited them from a common ancestor. Apomorphy (i.e. a derived trait) that is shared by two or more taxa and derived from the most recent common ancestor is referred to as synapomorphy. It is the basis used to define monophyly (i.e. a condition of being a clade). Synapomorphy identifies the most recent common ancestor of a monophyletic group in a cladogram (phylogenetic tree).

Other related terms are polyphyletic and paraphyletic. In particular, polyphyletic can be used to describe a group of organisms that descends from multiple ancestral lineages (thus, “poly”). Paraphyletic, in turn, is a term that may describe a group of organisms that does include some but not all of the descendants from the common ancestors. While monophyletic groups are based on synapomorphy, polyphyletic groups are based on convergence and paraphyletic groups,  in turn, are based on symplesiomorphy.

An example of a monophyletic group is one that is comprised of humans, apes, and new world monkeys, as they share the most common recent ancestral group, which is the old-world monkeys.

 

Compare:
polyphyletic
paraphyletic

See also:
• Phylogenetic
Taxonomy
Synapomorphy


You will also like...

Fossil trilobite imprint in the sediment
Insects

There are more species of insects than any other species combined. This surely illustrates that insects have the selecti..

Hormone Production
Hormone Production

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by specialized glands and they were produced by switching on the genes designe..

Cell structure
Cell Structure

A typical eukaryotic cell is comprised of cytoplasm with different organelles, such as nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, G..

Human Reproduction
Human Reproduction

Humans are capable of only one mode of reproduction, i.e. sexual reproduction. Haploid sex cells (gametes) are produced ..

takahē
Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

Biological Energy
ATP & ADP – Biological Energy

ATP is the energy source that is typically used by an organism in its daily activities. The name is based on its structu..