In phylogenetics, basal members of a group diverged earlier than a subgroup of others (or vice versa). It is often used in opposition to the word derived. The following are example usages of the term basal:
Many biologists (especially those that use cladistics) now prefer to use "basal" instead of the word "primitive," which may imply inferiority. On the contrary, if a basal member of a group exists alongside derived members, it has had more time to evolve and is often better-suited to its environment than modern derivatives.
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