A clade (from , ''klados'', "branch") is a group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants, and represents a single "branch" on the "tree of life".
The common ancestor may be an individual, a population, a species (extinct or extant), and so on right up to a kingdom. Clades are nested, one in another, as each branch in turn splits into smaller branches. These splits reflect evolutionary history as populations diverged and evolved independently.
Increasingly, taxonomists try to avoid naming taxa that are not clades.
The term "clade" was coined in 1957 by the biologist Julian Huxley to refer to the result of cladogenesis, a concept Huxley borrowed from Bernhard Rensch.〔
Many commonly named groups are clades, for example, rodents, or insects; because in each case, their name comprises a common ancestor with all its descendant branches. Rodents, for example, are a branch of mammals that split off after the end of the period when the clade Dinosauria stopped being the dominant terrestrial vertebrates 66 million years ago. The original population and all its descendants are a clade. The rodent clade corresponds to the order Rodentia, and insects to the class Insecta. These clades include smaller clades, such as chipmunk or ant, each of which comprises even smaller clades. The clade "rodent" is in turn included in the mammal, vertebrate and animal clades.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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