Blackwell Publishing

Classification and evolution - What are the three main schools of classification?

Biologists distinguish three different types of character.

A shared derived character is common to the ancestral species and a single group: it is the only reliable guide to inferring phylogeny.

An ancestral character is shared with the species ancestral to more than one group: it can lead to different groups being classified together.

A homoplasy is a character that a species shares through convergent evolution: it is no indicator of a phylogenetic relation.

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