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Phylogeny ( ancient Greek φῦλον Phylon , German , root ' and ancient Greek γένεσις génesis , German , origin' ) or phylogeny refers to both the phylogenetic development ( phylogeny ) of the totality of all living organisms and certain kinship groups at all levels of biological systematics . The term also includes the evolution of individual characteristics in the course of the development history of living things. In contrast to this, ontogeny describes the individual development of a living being. Both together are the subject of the biogenetic principle .

Methodology of phylogenetic research

The science of studying phylogenesis is also known as phylogenetics . It includes the following methods, among others:

When evaluating these characteristics, it is crucial to distinguish homologies (based on common descent) from homoplasias ( analogies based on parallel developments, for example under the same environmental conditions). A phylogenetic tree can then be created from this data, which represents the reconstructed relationships

An epistemological problem in phylogenesis research is that the evolutionary processes on which phylogenesis is based can usually not be observed directly or experimentally reproduced. Therefore, evidence from various areas must be used in order to be able to reconstruct reasonably consistent family trees. There are more frequent differences of opinion, as for example the discussion about the division of different protostomeric animal phyla into molting animals (mainly genetically based) or articulata (mainly morphologically based) shows.


Synphylogenesis describes the strictly interdependent development of living beings in terms of evolutionary history . The term parasitophylese is also used for this. She looks at the evolutionary development of parasite / host systems. Parasitism has been described as an important engine of evolution.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Phylogenesis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfdietrich Eichler : About certain interrelationships between ecology and evolution in the sphere of parasitism. In: German Entomological Journal . Volume 27, No. 4-5, 1980, pp. 189-197 (here: p. 191); Full text (PDF; 2.2 MB) .