Definitions for cladisticskləˈdɪs tɪks
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cladistics, cladistic analysis(noun)
a system of biological taxonomy based on the quantitative analysis of comparative data and used to reconstruct cladograms summarizing the (assumed) phylogenetic relations and evolutionary history of groups of organisms
: An approach to biological systematics in which organisms are grouped based upon synapomorphies (shared derived characteristics) only, and not upon symplesiomorphies (shared ancestral characteristics).
Cladistics is an approach to biological classification in which items are grouped together based on whether or not they have one or more shared unique characteristics that come from the group's last common ancestor and are not present in more distant ancestors. Therefore, members of the same group are thought to share a common history and are considered to be more closely related. The original method for cladistic analysis and the school of taxonomy derived from it originated in the work of the German entomologist Willi Hennig, who referred to it as "phylogenetic systematics"; the use of the terms "cladistics" and "clade" was popularized by other researchers. The techniques and sometimes the names have been successfully applied in other disciplines: for example, to determine the relationships between the surviving manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, or also between 53 manuscripts of the Sanskrit Charaka Samhita.
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