Definition of cladistics in English:

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Pronunciation: /kləˈdistiks/

plural noun

[treated as singular] Biology
A method of classification of animals and plants according to the proportion of measurable characteristics that they have in common. It is assumed that the higher the proportion of characteristics that two organisms share, the more recently they diverged from a common ancestor.
Example sentences
  • The second half of the 20th century has seen the advent of two revolutions in systematics: cladistics and molecular phylogenetics.
  • Today, cladistics is the method of choice for classifying life because it recognizes and employs evolutionary theory.
  • Of course, it is possible to do cladistics without reference to evolution, but nothing in biology makes much sense-including cladistics-except in the light of evolution.



Pronunciation: /ˈklādˌizəm/
Example sentences
  • The two main methods for developing phylogenies in palaeontology are evolutionary systematics and phylogenetic systematics or cladism.
  • They argue against cladism and are in favour of retaining the Linnean methodology.
  • However, in two places I was surprised to find that the scientist - who earlier had exposed himself as a pronounced skeptic against pattern cladism - argues like a transformed cladist.


Example sentences
  • However, a cladistic approach to phenotype association studies does not require a complete absence of recombination.
  • We are not aware, however, of any previous studies that have used cladistic methods to define paleontological species.
  • He has the distinction of being one of the very early converts to cladistic methods in vertebrate paleontology.


1960s: from clade + -ist + -ics.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cla·dis·tics

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