Definition of polyphyletic in English:



  • (of a group of organisms) derived from more than one common evolutionary ancestor or ancestral group and therefore not suitable for placing in the same taxon.

    ‘the aschelminthes may be a polyphyletic grade’
    • ‘The taxonomy of the group is not well resolved, with many family-group taxa considered paraphyletic or polyphyletic, and several subfamilies are unplaced at the family level.’
    • ‘The present study, as well as previous molecular studies, suggest that the oegopsid squids represent a polyphyletic group with uncertain phylogenetic affinities.’
    • ‘Over the last two decades, various members of the Coeloscleritophora have been compared to sponges, annelids, mollusks, ascidians, and brachiopods, and the group is likely polyphyletic as other authors have suggested.’
    • ‘Loriciferans were originally assigned to the paraphyletic or polyphyletic group called Aschelminthes.’
    • ‘Later, however, a morphological analysis suggested that the Hardella complex constitutes a polyphyletic group.’