Palaeos: Palaeos Cladistics
and systematics

Definition: Paraphyly

Paraphyletic Taxa

paraphyletic taxon
graphic © Darren Abbey

The Paraphyletic taxon is a group of organisms in which the most recent common ancestor of all those organisms and some, but not all, of that ancestor's descendents are included.  Paraphyletic taxa are recognized in Linnaean and evolutionary systematics but not in cladistics.

Illustration: the Class Reptilia gave rise to mammals and birds, but neither mammals nor birds are included under Reptilia.

Examples:  Invertebrates, Amphibia, Reptilia, Dinosauria if excluding birds, Gymnosperma, etc.

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page by M. Alan Kazlev (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License), cladogram graphic © Darren Abbey, reproduced with permission
page uploaded 20 May 2002 (originally uploaded on Kheper Site 13 November 1998) last modified MAK090828
checked ATW040703 last modified MAK090828, edited RFVS111203