noun Biology, (used with a plural verb)
classification of organisms based on the branchings of descendant lineages from a common ancestor.

1965–70; cladist(ic) (see clad-, -istic) + -ics

cladistic, adjective
cladistically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cladistics (kləˈdɪstɪks)
(functioning as singular) biology a method of grouping animals that makes use of lines of descent rather than structural similarities
[C20: New Latin, from Greek klādos branch, shoot]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"systematic classification of life forms," 1965, from cladism (also see -ics).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cladistics   (klə-dĭs'tĭks)  Pronunciation Key 
A system of classification based on the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of groups of organisms, rather than purely on shared features. Many modern taxonomists prefer cladistics to the traditional hierarchies of Linnean classification systems. Compare Linnean.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
cladistics [(kluh-dis-tiks)]

A method of taxonomic classification that groups organisms according to their lines of evolutionary descent. All descendants of a given organism are called a clade.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In cladistics, presumptions about particular courses of ancestry and descent are abandoned as unprovable or unknowable.
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