If you are confused about the terms Synapomorphy and Symplesimorphy you don’t have to worry.In this guide, we will elaborate on this term and also discuss Synapomorphy and symplesiomorphy to make clear your concept. To know the difference between Synapomorphy and Symplesimorphy you need to understand the meaning of both terms. So let's start with the meaning.

What is Synapomorphy?

The term comes from a Greek word where the “syn” means shared and “Apo” means away from and “Morphy” means shape. Simply put animals share the form or shape they move away from their ancestors and related groups. Thus, Synapomorphy helps the scientist determine which separated animals are related to which group of ancestors. In case a group of organisms shares more than one synapomorphy. Synapormorphy is also called homology.

Example of Synapomorphy:

An example of Synapomorphy is in mammals. They share the synapomorphy to produce milk. Milk is a nutritive substance that is extracted from the mother’s body and fed to the babies. It is an example of mammals being contradictory. It excluded several mammal the groups such as platypi that lay eggs but feed their milk to babies

What is Symplesiomorphy?

Symplesiomorphy term was first introduced by the German Scientist Will Henning. The use of the term Symplesiomorphy is very narrow when it comes to deciding the difference among the different groups and how they related to each other 

 Example of Symplesimorphy:

An example of Symplesiomorphy is quadrupedalism or the animal that can walk with legs. Since this is an ancestral trait exhibited by reptiles, amphibians and other texa, symplesiomorphy, for mammals.

Synapomorphy vs Symplesiomorphy:

We will differentiate Synapomorphy Vs  Symplesiomorphy one the basics of a few factors such as definitions, Evolution history, and example 


Synapomorphy refers to the characteristics present in the ancestors of the animal and shared evolutionary descendants. Symplesiomorphy refers to an ancestral character shared with more than two texa. These are the main differences between Synapomorphy and  Symplesiomorphy. 

Evolution history: 

Synapomorphy describes derived character whereas Symplesiomorphy describes the ancestral character which is another important difference between both terms. Synapomorphy can be observed by the size of the organism, type of skin, or things like eye colour, or DNA but Symplesiomorphy can be observed in ancestral character only

Sharing with the Ancestors:

Another difference between Synapomorphy and Symplesiomorphy is that in Synapomorphy the character is shared by the most common ancestors while in  Symplesiomorphy the character is shared by the earliest common ancestor Last word:

Both Synapomorphy and Symplesiomorphy are types of character shared by two or more texa, but the common difference is the character in  Synapomorphy present in their common ancestor. Hence the common difference between  Symplesiomorphy and  Synapomorphy sharing the character with another texa.