clad·​o·​gen·​e·​sis ˌkla-də-ˈje-nə-səs How to pronounce cladogenesis (audio)
: evolutionary change characterized by treelike branching of taxa compare anagenesis
cladogenetic adjective
cladogenetically adverb

Examples of cladogenesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The new paper also makes the case for D. horneri being an example of anagenesis, when enough changes accumulate over time to turn one species into another in a linear way, as opposed to cladogenesis, in which one ancestor species radiates into multiple other species. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2017 The difference between anagenesis — a linear progression from Species A to its descendent, Species B — and cladogenesis — when a single species A splits into two or more distinct descendent species (B, C, and so on) — may seem a bit in the weeds for the average armchair paleoanthropologist. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 28 Aug. 2019 Whereas, in cladogenesis, a lineage splits into two or more separate lines. Julia Musto, Fox News, 5 Mar. 2022 But the case for cladogenesis over anagenesis hinges entirely on that 3.9-million-year-old forehead bone from Belohdelie belonging to A. afarensis—no other A. afarensis remains recovered thus far are that old. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 7 Dec. 2019 This branching mode of evolution, known as cladogenesis, can occur when populations of a species become isolated from one another and are thus able to evolve in different directions. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 7 Dec. 2019 Since these modern features were already present in the older species, the most likely scenario is that Lucy’s species formed by evolutionary divergence from A. anamensis – a process known as cladogenesis. Hester Hanegraef, Quartz Africa, 7 Sep. 2019 Further evidence for cladogenesis comes from a 3.9m years old frontal bone (part of the forehead) from Ethiopia, discovered in 1981. Hester Hanegraef, Quartz Africa, 7 Sep. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cladogenesis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cladogenesis was in 1953

Dictionary Entries Near cladogenesis

Cite this Entry

“Cladogenesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on cladogenesis

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!