An evolutionarily advanced (‘derived’) character state (the opposite of plesiomorph) that is possessed by a group of biological organisms and distinguishes those organisms from others descended from the same ancestor. The long neck of the giraffe is apomorphic; the short neck of its ancestor is plesiomorphic. Apomorphic features may be autapomorphic (uniquely derived) or synapomorphic (derived and present in more than one group of organisms). The term means ‘new-featured’ and refers to ‘derived’ characters which have appeared during the course of evolution.
Subjects: Ecology and Conservation.