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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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Systematics of Endemic African Mammals

Systematics of Endemic African Mammals

(p.902) (p.903) Forty-Six Systematics of Endemic African Mammals
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Robert J. Asher

Erik R. Seiffert

University of California Press

Shortly after the death of his coauthor, C. F. Sonntag, Sir Wilfrid Le Gros Clark published a collaborative monograph on the anatomy and relationships of the aardvark, Orycteropus afer. They argued that aardvarks should be placed beside the Hyracoidea and Proboscidea. This conclusion differed considerably from those given in other treatments of Orycteropus during most of the twentieth century. To varying degrees, a similar history can be traced for two other groups of African mammals: sengis (elephant shrews) and golden moles. Africa is home to a number of diverse, endemic radiations besides Afrotheria, including cetartiodactyls (bovids, hippopotamids, giraffids), primates (strepsirrhines, catarrhine anthropoids), rodents (bathyergids, thryonomyids, anomalurids, pedetids), and carnivorans (Malagasy euplerines). However, these groups do not share a common ancestry with one another to the exclusion of other mammals. This chapter explores the systematics and fossil history of endemic African mammals that share a unique bond of phylogenetic history, fully appreciated only during the last ten years, and that comprise one of the most novel hypotheses of animal classification since 1758.

Keywords:   Orycteropus afer, aardvarks, Hyracoidea, Proboscidea, mammals, Africa, systematics, classification, Afrotheria, sengis

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