from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Relating to or characterized by development from more than one ancestral type.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having multiple ancestral sources; referring to a taxon that does not contain the most recent common ancestor of its members.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or characterized by, descent from more than one root form, or from many different root forms; polygenetic; -- opposed to monophyletic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or derived from several phyla; having several different lines of descent: as, a polyphyletic origin.
  • Of or pertaining to the doctrine or theory that animals are not monophyletic, but are severally and specially created, or at least derived from many different sources.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It is called polyphyletic evolution, which means that God created numerous stocks, or beginnings of both plant and animal life, which were subject to change and growth, deterioration and development, according to his plan and purpose.

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  • In a striking parallel, Lupas et al. have proposed that modern protein folds evolved by recombination of ancient peptide modules, such that the folds have independent and polyphyletic origins although they all ultimately derive from the same recombining pool of genetic elements encoding primordial peptides.

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  • Zach: Warm-bloodedness is polyphyletic and is found in two broad classes, mammals (modified in bats) and aves.

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  • Warm-bloodedness is polyphyletic and is found in two broad classes, mammals (modified in bats) and aves.

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  • If not, we are into paraphyletic or polyphyletic taxa.

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  • In a study of osteological and soft-tissue characters, Mayr & Clarke (2003) also found gruiforms to be polyphyletic: rails, trumpeters and cranes (referred to from hereon as the ‘gruiform core’) were one of the most basal groups within Neoaves, bustards were without close relatives, and seriemas formed a clade with … .. hoatzins.

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  • To further thicken the plot, I should add that most marine snails, the polyphyletic prosobranchs, have their eyes at the bases of their 1 pair of tentacles and many have opercula.

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  • This implies the extinction of the original taxon is real, and the two taxa are polyphyletic.

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  • For Woese, the original cellular ancestors of the three domains — Eukarya, Archaea, Bacteria — arose independently: their cellular architectures represent a polyphyletic geometry.

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  • The taxonomy in ZooBank seems to be a bit outdated: they still have Prosobranchia with Archaeo-/Meso-/Neogastropoda, all now considered para- or polyphyletic groups with the exception of the last.

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