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Cenozoic Mammals of Africa$
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Lars Werdelin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257214

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257214.001.0001

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Paleogene “Insectivores”

Paleogene “Insectivores”

(p.252) (p.253) Sixteen Paleogene “Insectivores”
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Erik R. Seiffert

University of California Press

Paleogene Afro-Arabian placental mammals of “insectivoran” grade — simply known as Paleogene African “insectivores” — have thus far been placed either in endemic African genera (Chambilestes, Eochrysochloris, Garatherium, Jawharia, Todralestes, Widanelfarasia) or in genera that have also been documented in the fossil records of Europe (Aboletylestes, Afrodon) and North America (Cimolestes, Palaeoryctes). Whereas Paleogene insectivores from northern continents are increasingly known from well-preserved cranial remains, the African assemblage is comparatively very limited. These scanty records nevertheless bear directly (though not yet conclusively) on some central outstanding issues in early placental mammalian evolution, such as the time and place of origin of the enigmatic Afrosoricida (the afrotherian clade containing tenrecs [Tenrecoidea] and golden moles [Chrysochloridae]) and the nature of Afro-Arabia's biogeographic isolation through the Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic. Interpretation and classification of the Paleogene “insectivores” from Africa has become extremely problematic since the recognition of the endemic Afro-Arabian clade Afrotheria. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Paleogene “insectivores.”.

Keywords:   Paleogene, insectivores, paleontology, placental mammals, evolution, Afrosoricida, Afrotheria, Cenozoic, Africa, Late Cretaceous

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