An emerging consensus in the evolution, phylogeny, and systematics of marsupials and their fossil relatives (Metatheria)

  title={An emerging consensus in the evolution, phylogeny, and systematics of marsupials and their fossil relatives (Metatheria)},
  author={Mark D. B. Eldridge and Robin M. D. Beck and Darin A. Croft and Kenny J. Travouillon and Barry J. Fox},
  journal={Journal of Mammalogy},
Marsupials and their fossil relatives, which collectively comprise Metatheria, have been of scientific interest for centuries, with many aspects of their evolution and systematics subject to intense research and debate. Here, we review progress over the last 25 years, which has included the description of many new species (modern and fossil), and major improvements in understanding of their phylogenetic relationships, as well as the overall evolutionary history and biogeography of Marsupialia… 

Craniodental Morphology and Phylogeny of Marsupials

The results of separate and combined analyses of these data using a wide range of phylogenetic methods support many currently accepted hypotheses of ingroup (marsupial) relationships, but they also underscore the difficulty of placing fossils with key missing data.

The pre-Pleistocene fossil thylacinids (Dasyuromorphia: Thylacinidae) and the evolutionary context of the modern thylacine

The fossil history of the Thylacinids provides a foundation for understanding the ecology of the modern thylacine and provides a framework for future studies of the evolution of hypercarnivory, cursoriality, morphological and ecological disparity, and convergence within mammalian carnivores.

The Biogeography of Dromiciops in Southern South America: middle Miocene transgressions, speciation and associations with Nothofagus

The whole diversification of Dromiciops occurred within the Miocene, being the Middle Miocene transgression (MMT), the massive marine flooding that covered several lowlands of the western face of los Andes between 38-48° S, the most likely diversifying force.


The record of extinct African metatherians (Mammalia, Theria) is scanty, restricted in time (Eocene–Miocene), and its taxonomy is still subject of debate. A review of all African metatherians, or

The Making of Calibration Sausage Exemplified by Recalibrating the Transcriptomic Timetree of Jawed Vertebrates

The present work reevaluate all thirty calibrations in detail, present the current state of knowledge on them with its various uncertainties, rerun the dating analysis, and conclude that calibration dates cannot be taken from published compendia or other secondary or tertiary sources without risking strong distortions to the results.

Molecules and fossils tell distinct yet complementary stories of mammal diversification

It is shown that species-specific ‘tip’ rates of speciation are unbiased estimators of recent evolutionary processes; in turn, the clade-level skewness of tip rates approximates the extent of past shifts in net diversification.

The ecology and evolution of the monito del monte, a relict species from the southern South America temperate forests

The ecological role of this emblematic marsupial is described, summarizing the ecophysiology of hibernation and sociality, updated phylogeographic relationships, reproductive cycle, trophic relationships, mutualisms, conservation, and threats, and suggest immediate actions to protect these species that may be threatened in the near future due to habitat destruction and climate change.

The Stapes of Stem and Extinct Marsupialia: Implications for the Ancestral Condition

ABSTRACT This paper describes, for the first time, the stapedes of several non-marsupial species of the metatherian clade Sparassodonta (Sipalocyon gracilis, Arctodictis sinclairi, and Borhyaena

Exceptional preservation of nonmineralized biomaterials in Cenozoic fossils of the Mammalia clade

The members of the Mammalia class experienced high ecological, morphological and taxonomic diversification during the Cenozoic Era. With technological advances in molecular paleontology in recent

A stagodontid mammal from the mid-Cretaceous of France confirms the Euramerican distribution of early marsupialiforms



Marsupial and monotreme evolution and biogeography

The known fossil record and biogeography of both radiations is summarised, with particular attention given to a recent paradigm shift on monotreme evolution, with the latest research suggesting that monotremes are part of an ancient, Gondwanan radiation of mammals that independently evolved a tribosphenic dentition.

Phylogenetic Relationships and Classification of Didelphid Marsupials, an Extant Radiation of New World Metatherian Mammals

A decade of morphological and molecular research on the phylogenetic relationships of didelphid marsupials (opossums) is summarized, with a completely resolved ingroup phylogeny with high support statistics at most nodes.

Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.

A pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change is found, however, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats.

The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record

Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary.

A morphological analysis of marsupial mammal higher‐level phylogenetic relationships

The origin of morphological characteristics of various groups bridge different geographical areas are investigated by assembling a morphological data matrix consisting of a new suite of 149 postcranial characters and incorporated a series of previously published data on the craniodental and soft tissue anatomy.

Total evidence analysis of the phylogenetic relationships of bandicoots and bilbies (Marsupialia: Peramelemorphia): reassessment of two species and description of a new species.

A new total evidence analysis, combining the latest cranio-dental morphological matrix containing both modern and fossil taxa, with molecular data from GenBank, shows that some species and subspecies require taxonomic reassessment, and describes a new, extinct species from the Nullarbor region.

Mammals from ‘down under’: a multi-gene species-level phylogeny of marsupial mammals (Mammalia, Metatheria)

The first Methaterian species-level phylogeny to include 80% of the extant marsupial species and five nuclear and five mitochondrial markers obtained from Genbank and a recently published retroposon matrix is presented, offering a well resolved and detailed tool for comparative analyses.

Total evidence phylogeny and evolutionary timescale for Australian faunivorous marsupials (Dasyuromorphia)

The first total evidence phylogenetic analyses of the order Dasyuromorphia are presented, based on combined morphological and molecular data, to resolve relationships and calculate divergence dates, which provide a phylogenetic and temporal framework for interpreting the evolution of modern and fossil dasyuromorphians.

A species-level phylogenetic supertree of marsupials

A virtually complete, species-level phylogeny of the marsupials (Mammalia: Metatheria), built by combining 158 phylogenetic estimates published since 1980, using matrix representation with parsimony, is presented.

DNA phylogeny of the marsupial wolf resolved

Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear protamine gene sequence shows unambiguously that thylacines are members of Dasyuromorphia, and suggests a late Oligocene or very early Miocene divergence of familial lineages.