Phylogeny ( ancient Greek φῦλον phylon, tribe ' and γένεσις génesis, origin ') refers to both the phylogenetic development of the totality of all living things as well as certain kinship groups at all levels of biological systematics. The term is also used to characterize the evolution of individual features in the course of evolution. The antithesis to the phylogeny is ontogeny, the development of the individuals of a species

Phylogenetic research methodology

The science of the study of phylogeny is also known as phylogenetics. It includes the following methods:

  • Evaluation of structural ( morphological ) and anatomical features of fossils,
  • Comparison of morphological, anatomical and physiological characteristics of extant creatures (analysis of homologies )
  • Comparison of the ontogenesis mainly extant organisms
  • Molecular genetic analysis of the DNA, for example by DNA sequence analysis.

From these data, a phylogenetic tree can then be created that represents the reconstructed phylogenetic relationships.

In the evaluation of features, it is crucial to distinguish homologies of Homoplasien.

An epistemological problem of Phylogeneseforschung is that the phylogeny underlying evolutionary processes can not be observed directly in the rule or reproduced experimentally. Therefore, evidence from various fields must be used to reconstruct reasonably coherent pedigrees can. So it is more common to different views, such as the discussion on the classification of different protostomer animal phyla in molting animals (primarily genetically based ) or Articulata (mainly morphologically justified) shows.


The Synphylogenese describes the evolutionary strictly interdependent development of living beings. Also, the term Parasitophylese is used. They considered the evolutionary development of parasite / host systems. The parasitism is described as an important engine of evolution.