phylogeny

noun
phy·​log·​e·​ny | \fī-ˈlä-jə-nē \
plural phylogenies

Definition of phylogeny 

1 : the evolutionary history of a kind of organism

2 : the evolution of a genetically related group of organisms as distinguished from the development of the individual organism

3 : the history or course of the development of something (such as a word or custom)

Examples of phylogeny in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Creating a complete phylogeny of birds is likely to resolve this dispute, or at least offer new evidence. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "What We Can Learn From a New Bird Tree of Life," 21 Apr. 2018 Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project has the goal of creating a full tree of life, or phylogeny, for the world’s birds. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "What We Can Learn From a New Bird Tree of Life," 21 Apr. 2018 These phylogenies help researchers looking at the evolutionary histories of specific avian traits or the story of birds overall. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Bigger, better bird tree of life will soon fly into view," 16 Apr. 2018 The dinosaur family tree, or phylogeny, as scientists call it, underpins the major questions about how these creatures came to rule the Earth millions of years ago. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is the dinosaur family tree becoming a dinosaur?," 3 Nov. 2017 For living animals, building phylogenies can be a bit less controversial, because the animals’ genomes are available. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is the dinosaur family tree becoming a dinosaur?," 3 Nov. 2017 Earlier this year paleontologists Matthew Baron, David Norman, and Paul Barrett unveiled a new dinosaur phylogeny that offers very different view of who’s related to whom. Brian Switek, Scientific American Blog Network, "Shaking the Dinosaur Family Tree," 15 May 2017 The study describing Atractus cerberus, published on March 15 in ZooKeys, uses DNA from 30 Atractus species to build an ambitious phylogeny, or family tree, of the genus. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "3 New Snakes Found, One Named for Underworld Monster," 24 Mar. 2017 Darwin knew that paleontologists had only just begun to probe the fossil record, and so outlining phylogenies or tracing evolutionary lines of descent was a risky maneuver since those findings would almost certainly have to be revised. Brian Switek, WIRED, "OpenLab Finalist: Giraffes – Necks for food, or necks for sex?," 7 Jan. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phylogeny.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phylogeny

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phylogeny

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Dictionary Entries near phylogeny

phylogenetics

phylogenic

phylogenist

phylogeny

phylon

phylum

phymatid

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Time Traveler for phylogeny

The first known use of phylogeny was in 1869

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More Definitions for phylogeny

phylogeny

noun
phy·​log·​e·​ny | \fi-ˈläj-ə-nē \
plural phylogenies

Medical Definition of phylogeny 

1 : the evolutionary history of a kind of organism

2 : the evolution of a genetically related group of organisms as distinguished from the development of the individual organism

called also phylogenesis

— compare ontogeny

More from Merriam-Webster on phylogeny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phylogeny

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phylogeny

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