Main Entry:  paraphyletic
Part of Speech:  adj
Definition:  composed of some but not all members descending from a common ancestor's 21st Century Lexicon
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
paraphyletic  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (pār'ə-fī-lět'ĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
Relating to a taxonomic group that includes some but not all of the descendants of a common ancestor. In the traditional taxonomy of vertebrates, where fish are a separate class from the classes of terrestrial vertebrates, the class of fish is paraphyletic, since the terrestrial vertebrates are descended from a type of fish. Compare monophyletic, polyphyletic.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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