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Definition: A general methodological principle that the simplest hypothesis capable of explaining observations is the best working hypothesis and should be tested first before investigating more complex hypotheses. In phylogenetic systematics, this principle involves using the phylogenetic tree that requires the smallest amount of evolutionary change as the best working hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships.
Source: Hickman, C.P., et al. 2011. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Fifteenth Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.