Let's consider stars, the sea, fish, and starfish. How can we compare such diverse entities? Obviously not by molecular means. But we can return to the traditional means of cladistic characters. In this analysis I used: 1) Living 2) Primarily water 3) Non-trivial concentration of dissolved NaCl, and 4) presence of backbone.
These characters can be encoded in a PHYLIP matrix in the following manner.
4 4By standard parsimony this yields the following midpoint-rooted tree
So, while "starfish" is inaccurate, "sea star" is even worse!