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[pol-ee-fahy-let-ik] /ˌpɒl i faɪˈlɛt ɪk/
developed from more than one ancestral type, as a group of animals.
Origin of polyphyletic
First recorded in 1870-75; poly- + phyletic
Related forms
polyphyletically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for polyphyletic


(biology) relating to or characterized by descent from more than one ancestral group of animals or plants
Derived Forms
polyphyletically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from poly- + phyletic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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polyphyletic in Medicine

polyphyletic pol·y·phy·let·ic (pŏl'ē-fī-lět'ĭk)

  1. Descended or derived from more than one ancestral stock or source.

  2. Of or being the theory that blood cells are derived from several different stem cells, depending on the particular blood cell type.

pol'y·phy'le·tism (-fī'lĭ-tĭz'əm) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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polyphyletic in Science
Relating to a taxonomic group that does not include the common ancestor of the members of the group and whose members have two or more separate origins. A group that consists of flying vertebrates would be polyphyletic, as bats and birds independently evolved flight and do not share a common ancestor. Compare monophyletic, paraphyletic.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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