Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 April 2021
Our starting point for discussion of evolutionary pattern is the word ‘clade’. This was introduced by the British biologist Julian Huxley (grandson of Darwin’s bulldog T. H. Huxley) in the 1940s. It means a taxonomic group of a particular kind: one that includes all the descendants of a particular ancestral species, and no others. This kind of group can also be called monophyletic. When the German taxonomist Willi Hennig founded the new approach to taxonomy that we now call cladistics, in the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of a clade was central. For those not familiar with cladistics, Hennig’s main concern was that the evolutionary trees that were used through much of the literature of evolutionary biology confounded two things: closeness of ancestry and similarity in body form.