What does a branch point in a cladogram represent?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cladistics is a study of the classification of biological organisms based on shared characteristics and common ancestors.  A cladogram is a visual chart or representation of cladistics.  They consist of horizontal or vertical lines connecting various organisms.  These different lines branch off from a common point on the cladogram.  These branch points represent a common ancestor shared by the organisms that emanate from the branch point.  Please note that this ancestor is a hypothetical ancestor and not necessarily an actual organism.  It is used to view what a common ancestor might look like based on common traits from the organisms it connects.