Cladistics is the method of choice for systematic classification and comparative studies in all fields of biology. In cladistics, reconstructed genealogies are based on common ancestry rather than on simple anatomical similarity and therefore effectively reveal true phylogenetic relationships. Now available in paperback, this excellent introduction to cladistics is based on the popular training course originally offered by the Systematics Association. The book surveys a wide range of topics, including the principle of parsimony, character coding and cladistic tree-building methods, tree statistics, and methods for determining character polarity. Alternatives to parsimony, molecular applications of cladistics, and the relevance of fossils are also discussed in detail. Concluding chapters review two critical topics of contemporary concern: cladistic biogeography and the implementation of cladistic results in systematics. In providing a readable, up-to-date account of modern cladistics techniques, the book will prove invaluable to all students and professionals interested in systematics and comparative studies.