How would you choose between two characteristics to be used for developing a hierarchy in classification?

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How would you choose between two characteristics to be used for developing a hierarchy in classification?

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We need to look at the fact if given character is present in a small number of organisms or a larger number of organisms. In the first case, the commonality of characters would represent a species. In the latter case, the commonality of characters would represent a higher taxa; like genus, family, order or phylum.