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numerical taxonomy

classification of organisms by a comparison of large numbers of observable characteristics that are given equal value instead of being weighted according to possible evolutionary significance.
Also called numerical phenetics, taximetrics.
1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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numerical phenetics in Science
numerical taxonomy
A method of taxonomy in which classification is made on the basis of a multivariate analysis of observable differences and similarities between taxonomic groups. Classifications based on numerical taxonomy reflect degrees of similarity rather than evolutionary relationships.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for numerical phenetics

numerical taxonomy

the multivariate analysis of many measurable features (taxonomic characters) to produce a biological classification. Because of the complexity of the analysis-many characters are measured on many individuals or a number of species-the use of a computer is virtually mandatory. No attempt is made, as in evolutionary taxonomy, to weight characters on the basis of their presumed roles in natural selection. For this reason, numerical taxonomy produces a classification that reflects "phenetic distances," i.e., degrees of similarity. Such classifications are rejected by many conventional taxonomists who feel that the relationships expressed in a classification should be strictly evolutionary. See also taxonomy.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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