phylogeny

Use the noun phylogeny to describe the branch of biology that focuses on evolution and the differences between species.

You're most likely to come across the word phylogeny in a biology class. It's another term for "phylogenetics," the study of evolution, diversity, and the way different organisms and species are related to each other. The German biologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel was the first to use the word phylogeny, in 1866, and Darwin used it soon after. It combines the Greek phylos, "race," with geneia, "origin."

Definitions of phylogeny
  1. noun
    (biology) the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms
    synonyms: evolution, organic evolution, phylogenesis
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    anamorphism, anamorphosis
    the evolution of one type of organism from another by a long series of gradual changes
    anthropogenesis, anthropogeny
    the evolution or genesis of the human race
    emergent evolution
    the appearance of entirely new properties at certain critical stages in the course of evolution
    macroevolution
    evolution on a large scale extending over geologic era and resulting in the formation of new taxonomic groups
    microevolution
    evolution resulting from small specific genetic changes that can lead to a new subspecies
    speciation
    the evolution of a biological species
    type of:
    biological process, organic process
    a process occurring in living organisms
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week