Relationships of Endemic African Mammals and Their Fossil Relatives Based on Morphological and Molecular Evidence

  title={Relationships of Endemic African Mammals and Their Fossil Relatives Based on Morphological and Molecular Evidence},
  author={Robert J. Asher and Michael J. Novacek and Jonathan H Geisler},
  journal={Journal of Mammalian Evolution},
Analyses of anatomical and DNA sequence data run on a parallel supercomputer that include fossil taxa support the inclusion of tenrecs and golden moles in the Afrotheria, an endemic African clade of placental mammals. According to weighting schemes of morphological and molecular data that maximize congruence, extinct members of the afrotherian crown group include embrithopods, Plesiorycteropus, desmostylians, and the “condylarths” Hyopsodus, Meniscotherium, and possibly Phenacodus. By… 

Early Tertiary mammals from North Africa reinforce the molecular Afrotheria clade

New dental and postcranial evidence of Eocene stem hyrax and macroscelidid from North Africa are reported that, for the first time, provides a congruent phylogenetic view with the molecular Afrotheria clade.

Afrotherian mammals: a review of current data

Molecular data suggest an African origin for Afrotheria and a long period of endemism on that continent, and paleontological data argue for the broad distribution of afrotherians during the Tertiary and do not exclude their Laurasian origin.

High-level systematics of placental mammals: Current status of the problem

It is shown that the fossil record is the only reliable method to test the phylogenetic hypotheses based on the material of the molecular and morphological studies of recent taxa.


A combined genetic-morphological matrix supports the recently proposed hypothesis that Solenodon is the basal-most member of a clade of Holarctic insectivorans, including Centetodon and excluding African tenrecoids.

Phylogenetic Relationships of Extinct Cetartiodactyls: Results of Simultaneous Analyses of Molecular, Morphological, and Stratigraphic Data

Both analyses supported the exclusion of Mesonychia from Cetartiodactyla and a close phylogenetic relationship between Hippopotamidae and Cetacea, and added stratigraphic information to the intrinsic dataset, which found fewer most parsimonious trees.

Phylogenomic data analyses provide evidence that Xenarthra and Afrotheria are sister groups.

The phylogenetic analysis joined Xenarthra and Afrotheria on a common branch, Atlantogenata, and this topology was found to fit the data significantly better than the alternative trees, and exceeds by a considerable margin that of any previous study.

A new estimate of afrotherian phylogeny based on simultaneous analysis of genomic, morphological, and fossil evidence

There may, nevertheless, be more morphological character support for crown Afrotheria than is currently assumed; the features identified here as possible afrotherian synapomorphies can be further scrutinized through future phylogenetic analyses with broader taxon sampling, as well as recovery of primitive fossil afroTherians from the Afro-Arabian landmass.

A web-database of mammalian morphology and a reanalysis of placental phylogeny

  • R. Asher
  • Biology
    BMC Evolutionary Biology
  • 2006
A graphical web-database of morphological characters focusing on placental mammals, in tandem with a combined-data phylogenetic analysis of placental mammal phylogeny, reinforces the growing consensus regarding the extant placental mammalian clades of Afrotheria, Xenarthra, Euarchontoglires, and Laurasiatheria.

A Molecular Phylogeny of Plesiorycteropus Reassigns the Extinct Mammalian Order ‘Bibymalagasia’

The first known molecular sequence data for Plesiorycteropus is presented, obtained from the bone protein collagen (I), which places the ‘Malagasy aardvark’ as more closely related to tenrecs than aardVarks, suggesting that the taxonomic order ‘Bibymalagasia’ is obsolete.

A higher-level MRP supertree of placental mammals

The supertree is the first phylogeny to include all 113 extant families without making a priori assumptions of suprafamilial monophyly, and supports the idea that biogeography has played a crucial role in the evolution of placental mammals.




Comparison morphology and paleontology offer some compelling hypotheses that comprise a framework for studies of macromolecular traits that support groupings of the Recent orders of eutherian mammals.

Molecular evidence for multiple origins of Insectivora and for a new order of endemic African insectivore mammals.

The traditional views regarding the mammalian order Insectivora are that the group descended from a single common ancestor and that it is comprised of the following families: Soricidae (shrews),

The position of Cetacea within mammalia: phylogenetic analysis of morphological data from extinct and extant taxa.

Knowledge of the phylogenetic position of the order Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) within Mammalia is of central importance to evolutionary biologists studying the transformations of

New Morphological Evidence for the Phylogeny of Artiodactyla, Cetacea, and Mesonychidae

Abstract Parsimony-based analyses of a data set including 68 taxa coded for 186 morphological characters corroborate monophyly of Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), Suiformes (hippos, pigs,

Phylogenetic analysis of anthropoid relationships.

A large data set enables the adapid-anthropoid hypothesis to be rejected, and unites Tarsius, Anthropoidea and Omomyiformes within a clade, Haplorhini, however, relationships among these three taxa cannot be convincingly resolved at present.

A Morphological Basis for Assessing the Phylogeny of the “Tenrecoidea” (Mammalia, Lipotyphla)

A phylogenetic analysis of 35 mammalian taxa focusing on the lipotyphlan family Tenrecidae, based on 193 morphological character states across 71 characters, is undertaken to test several hypotheses

Higher taxonomic relationships among extant mammals based on morphology, with selected comparisons of results from molecular data.

Significant differences between the findings and those of recent investigators include the dissociation of Pholidota from Xenarthra and the plesiomorphous position of Lipotyphla within Epitheria.

Four new mitochondrial genomes and the increased stability of evolutionary trees of mammals from improved taxon sampling.

The evolutionary tree for mammals is expected to be resolved quickly, and the stability of trees from independent data sets, as detected from a triplet Markov analysis.