Circumscription (taxonomy)

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In biological taxonomy, circumscription is the definition of a taxon, that is, a group of organisms. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_0

One goal of biological taxonomy is to achieve a stable circumscription for every taxon. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_1

Achieving stability is not yet a certainty in most taxa, and many that had been regarded as stable for decades are in upheaval in the light of rapid developments in molecular phylogenetics. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_2

In essence, new discoveries may invalidate the application of irrelevant attributes used in established or obsolete circumscriptions, or present new attributes useful in cladistic taxonomy. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_3

An example of a taxonomic group with unstable circumscription is Anacardiaceae, a family of flowering plants. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_4

Some experts favor a circumscription in which this family includes the Blepharocaryaceae, Julianaceae, and Podoaceae, which are sometimes considered to be separate families. Circumscription (taxonomy)_sentence_5

See also Circumscription (taxonomy)_section_0

Circumscription (taxonomy)_unordered_list_0

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