Author's note: these pages were written some years ago. I am not planning to update them. For a more current coverage, see the link to palaeos com Palaeos website (to which many links on these pages point to anyway. More info here

The Monophyletic Taxon

monophyletic taxon

graphic © Darren Abbey

The Monophyletic taxon, also called a clade, is the building block of the cladistic system of taxonomy.  It refers to any group of organisms that includes the most recent common ancestor of all those organisms and all the descendants of that common ancestor.

Examples:  link to palaeos com Insects, link to palaeos com Vertebrates, link to palaeos com Mammalia, Angiosperms, , etc.

graphic (above) from UCMP

Polyphyletic taxon
Paraphyletic taxon
Monophyletic taxon

to Systematics
Systematics page

page history

page uploaded 13 November 1998
modified 28 November
and again 18 December