In a cladogram, a point from which two or more new branches diverge, representing either of two cases:
a. A multiple speciation event in which two or more species diverge from the same ancestor. Also called hard polytomy .
b. A speciation event in which two or more species are presumed to descend from the same ancestor, but the order of speciation is unknown. Also called soft polytomy .
Origin of polytomypoly- -tomy (on the model of dichotomy )