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Borrowed from German Phylogenie, coined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866, a neologism created as if borrowed from a Classic Greek word φυλογένεια (phulogéneia), composed from Ancient Greek φῦλον (phûlon, tribe, genus, species) + Ancient Greek -γένεια (-géneia, -geny (generation, production)).



phylogeny (countable and uncountable, plural phylogenies)

  1. (systematics) The evolutionary history of groups of organisms, such as species or clades.
    • 2022, Paul McAuley, Beyond the Burn Line, Gollancz, page 43:
      It was a bestiary more than a hundred years old, its entries organised by a quaintly outdated phylogeny and illustrated with hand-tinted plates.
  2. (systematics, informal) A phylogenetic diagram.
  3. The historical development of a human social or racial group.
    Understanding the phylogeny of this musical group helps us understand its music.
  4. The historical development of any thing, idea, etc.
    • 2010, The Journey of Child Development, →ISBN:
      Indeed, in a recent review article, Mithen (2009) traces the phylogeny of human communication []


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