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polytheticpolythetisch (ger.)

  • Involving or sharing a number of common characteristics of a group or class, none of them essential for membership of the group or class in question. (OED 2012)

    groups, in which several sets of characters occur, are called ‘polytypic’ by Beckner, but are better called polythetic. Phenetic taxa are always in theory polythetic.

    Sneath, P.H.A. (1962). The construction of taxonomic groups. In: Microbial Classification, 12. Symposium, Society of General Microbiology, 289-332: 291; cf. Sokal, R.R. & Sneath, P.H.A. (1963). Principles of Numerical Taxonomy: 15; Mayr, E. (1969). Principles of Systematic Zoology: 83.