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Re: Dinosaur Discussion List Dictionary



   Perhaps these would be a bit less opaque:

apomorph:  Evolutionarily advanced ('derived') character state.  The long
neck of the giraffe is apomorphic; the short neck of its ancestor is
plesiomorphic. 

autapomorph:  Apomorph character state that is unique to a particular
species or lineage in the group under consideration.

derived characteristics:  synonym of apomorph.

synapomorphic:  Applied to apomorphic features possessed by two or more taxa
in common.  If the two groups share a character state that is not the
primitive one, it is plausible that they are related in an evolutionary
sense, and only synapomorph character states can be used as evidence that
taxa are related.  Phylogenic trees are built up by discovering groups
united by synapomorphies.

taxon:  Group of organisms of any taxonomic rank, e.g. family, genus or species.

   ...and don't forget the definitions of *type already on my web page.

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