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Intro+Taxonomy+Systematics Vocabulary

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University of Alberta
Biology (Biological Sciences)
Heather Proctor

VOCAB: Intro+Taxonomy+Systematics • Induction: The recognition of patterns from accumulated observations • Proximate: Questions that only relate to the mechanisms with no evolutionary thinking necessarily required • Ultimate: Questions concerned with evolutionary origins and functions • Phylogeny: the evolutionary history of a species or group of species • Systematics: discipline focused on classifying organisms and identifying their evolutionary relationships (primarily focused on theory) • Taxonomy: discipline of how organisms are named and classified (primarily focused on practice) • Ethnotaxonomy: Examines how different cultures classify plants and animals • -idae: ending of animal Family names • Carolus Linnaeus: instituted two-part (binomial) scientific names, genus, then specific epithet or species • Taxon: A taxonomic unit at any level of the hierarchy • Phylogenic tree: Branching diagram that represents in the evolutionary history of a group of organisms, show patterns of descent, not phenotypic similarities • Cladogram: Diagram representing the changes and relationships among taxa • Phylogram: Evolutionary diagram in which branch lengths represent the number of differences between species • Branch point: Point in a phylogenic tree which represents the divergence of two evolutionary lineages from a common ancestor • Sister taxa: Groups of organisms that share an immediate common ancestor • Basal taxon: A lineage that diverges early in the history of the group and hence, ie. lies on a branch near the common ancestor of the group • Polytomy: Branch point from which more than two descendant groups emerge • Homology: Phenotypic and genetic similarities due to shared ancestry • Analogy: Phenotypic and/or genetic similarities due to convergent evolution rather than shared ancestry • Homoplasies: Analogous structures that arose independently (eg. molecular homoplasy) • Synapomorphy: A trait that is shared between two or more taxa and inferred to have been present in their most recent common ancestor, whose own ancestor did not possess that trait (eg. vertebrae for vertebrates, wasn't present before) • Symplesiomorphy: A shared ancestral trait (eg. presence of a vertebrae within the vertebrates group, was present from the original vertebrate ancestor and on) • Autapomorphy: A trait present in only given terminal taxon • Hennigian systematics: Willi Hennig. Classification that reflects ancestor- descendant relationships (shared evolutionary history) ◦ aka. Cladistics: Approach to systematics in which common ancestry is the primary criterion used to classify organisms and scientists attempt to place species into groups called clades, which includes an ancestral species and all of its descendants. • Molecular systematics: discipline that use data from DNA and other molecules to determine evolutionary relationships • Monophyletic: An ancestral species and all of its descendants (all branch off from same ancestor) • Paraphyletic: An ancestral species and some, but not all, of its descendants • Polyphyletic: Includes taxa with different ancestors •
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