In biology, phylogenetics is the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms (e.g., species, populations), which is discovered through molecular sequencing data and morphological data matrices.

Taxonomy, the classification of organisms according to similarity, has been richly informed by phylogenetics but remains methodologically and logically distinct.[1] The fields overlap however in the science of phylogenetic systematics or cladism, where only phylogenetic trees are used to delimit taxa, each representing a group of lineage-connected individuals[2].

Evolution is regarded as a branching process, whereby populations are altered over time and may speciate into separate branches, hybridize together, or terminate by extinction. This may be visualized as a multidimensional character-space that a population moves through over time. The problem posed by phylogenetics is that genetic data are only available for the present, and fossil records (osteometric data) are sporadic and less reliable. Our knowledge of how evolution operates is used to reconstruct the full tree.[3]


  1. ^ Edwards AWF, Cavalli-Sforza LL Phylogenetics is that branch of life science,which deals with the study of evolutionary relation among various groups of organisms,through molecular sequencing data. (1964). Systematics Assoc. Publ. No. 6: Phenetic and Phylogenetic Classification. ed. Reconstruction of evolutionary trees. pp. 67–76. 
  2. ^ Speer, Vrian (1998). "UCMP Glossary: Phylogenetics". UC Berkeley. Retrieved on 2008-03-22. 
  3. ^ Cavalli-Sforza LL, Edwards AWF (Sep., 1967). "Phylogenetic analysis: Models and estimation procedures". Evol. 21 (3): 550–570. doi:10.2307/2406616. 
Mantell's Iguanodon restoration
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