1. In biology, a shared shape and general appearance, regardless or the presence or absence of any common origin or relationship. The term may be applied to cells or organelles, or to parts of organisms such as scales or leaves, to whole organisms, or even to multi-species colonies of symbiotic organisms. Morphotype is a convenient concept when the relationships between similar entities is unclear, as may be the case in paleontology, or when it is the morphological similarities themselves that are of primary interest, as in comparative xenobiology. Xenobiologists, for instance, may speak of the 'prokaryotic morphotype' or the 'tree morphotype' or the 'fish morphotype' or 'worm morphotype' in describing life forms on a variety of unrelated life-bearing worlds.
2. With regard to the study of clades, any given physical form or appearance. A human nearbaseline, a human tweak, and a human superior, might all exhibit the same morphotype, even if they are mutually infertile, have separate derivations from basic human stock, and have very different abilities and psychologies. Likewise two vecs, or even two clades of vecs, might share a morphotype but have very different origins and behaviour. The term "morphotype" is sometimes used in describing a-life, in reference to common characteristics of computronium use and software representation in AIs and other infomorphs. Most, however, restrict the term's use to description of hylotech or biological life forms.
- Clade (sophontology)
- Cladism (adaptationist) - Text by Anders Sandberg
The view that people should not adopt planets to suit themselves, but instead adapt to the planet. Cladists generally have a distaste for terraforming projects, or opt for only minimal terraforming.
- Fitness Landscape - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
An abstract or mathematical representation of how mutations can change the fitness of one or more organisms. Evolution will tend to make populations move in an uphill direction on the fitness landscape.
- Morphological Freedom
- Morphology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
The shape of something, especially the organic form of a living being. Also, the study of how morphology is regulated in complex systems such as developing tissues or nanosystems.