Derived vs Ancestral

Ancestral traits and derived traitderived traitIn phylogenetics, an apomorphy (or derived trait) is a novel character or character state that has evolved from its ancestral form (or plesiomorphy). A synapomorphy is an apomorphy shared by two or more taxa and is therefore hypothesized to have evolved in their most recent common ancestor.

What is the difference between ancestral and derived?

As a reminder, an ancestral trait is what we think was present in the common ancestor of the species of interest. A derived trait is a form that we think arose somewhere on a lineage descended from that ancestor.

What is an example of a derived trait?

For example, among the tetrapods, having five fingers is the primitive trait – as their last common ancestor bore a five-digit hand. However, amongst the vertebrates, five fingers is a derived trait, as the last common ancestor to the vertebrates did not even bear fingers.

What is a derived ancestor?

Derived traits are those that just appeared (by mutation) in the most recent ancestor — the one that gave rise to a newly formed branch. Of course, what’s primitive or derived is relative to what branch an organism is on.

What is a derived ancestral character?

An ancestral character is shared with the species ancestral to more than one group: it can lead to different groups being classified together. A shared derived character is shared by the ancestral species and a single group: it is the only reliable guide to inferring phylogeny.

Can a derived trait be ancestral?

Derived traits are evidence of a shared evolutionary heritage. The logic of using ancestral or derived traits for classification. Ancestral traits already existed in the ancestral group. Such traits indicate affinity with a larger taxonomic unit, but don’t identify a species as part of a smaller group.

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