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evolutionary history of a species or a group of related species


a discipline that focuses on classifying organisms and their evolutionary relationships - fossils, morphology, genes, molecular evidence


an ordered division of organisms into categories based on a set of characteristics used to assess similarities & differences

binomial nomenclature

2 part naming system - genus & species - founded by Carolus Linnaeus

hierarchical classification

general to inclusive - Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species


each categorization at any level

phylogenetic tree

systematists use branching diagrams to depict hypotheses about evolutionary relationships - reflect hierarchical classifications of groups nested within more inclusive groups

homologous structures

similarities due to shared ancestry - whale flipper & tiger's paw

convergent evolution

when 2 organisms developed similarities as that adapted to similar environmental changes


no indication of relatedness, but have similar solutions to similar problems

molecular systematics

uses DNA & other molecular data to determine evolutionary relationships


depicts patterns of shared characteristics among taxa & forms the basis of a phylogenetic tree


within a tree; a group of species that includes an ancestral species & all its descendants

molecular clocks

methods used to measure the absolute time of evolutionary change based on the observation that some genes & other regions of the genome appear to evolve at constant rates

three - domains

Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya - 2 distinct lineages of prokaryotes


circular chromosome


introns, histone proteins associated with DNA, circular chromosome


nuclear envelope, membrane-enclosed organelles, introns, histone proteins associated with DNA

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