All these writers attacked the problem of descent, and published preliminary phylogenies of such animals as the horse, rhinoceros and elephant, which time has proved to be of only general value and not at all comparable to the exact phylogenetic series which were being established by invertebrate palaeontologists.
Discoveries in North America by Leidy, Cope and Marsh, and the ensuing phylogenies gave enormous prestige to palaeontology.
Vertebrate palaeontologists were slow to grasp this principle; while the early speculative phylogenies of the horse of Huxley and Marsh, for example, were mostly displayed monophyletically, or in single lines of descent, it is now recognized that the horses which were placed by Marsh in a single series are really to be ranged in a great number of contemporaneous but separate series, each but partially known, and that the direct phylum which leads to the modern horse has become a matter of far more difficult search.
As early as 1862 Gaudry set forth this very polyphyletic principle in his tabular phylogenies, but failed to carry it to its logical application.
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