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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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(p.99) Nine Tenrecoidea
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Robert J. Asher

University of California Press

Tenrecs (Tenrecidae) and golden moles (Chrysochloridae), grouped together in the taxon Tenrecoidea or alternatively, “Afrosoricida,” both comprise diverse groups of small, insectivorangrade placental mammals. There are ten genera and thirty species of living tenrecs, twenty-seven of which are from Madagascar and three from Central and West Africa. Bronner and Jenkins list nine genera of living golden moles containing twenty-one species, all but three of which are from continental Africa near to or south of the 20th parallel. Neither group has a good fossil record. The earliest, undisputed fossils are from the early Miocene of East Africa, although a tentative identification has recently been made of fossil tenrec and golden mole jaws from the Eo-Oligocene of Egypt. For most of the twentieth century, tenrecs and golden moles were regarded as members of the Insectivora or Lipotyphla, along with hedgehogs, shrews, moles, and Solenodon. Currently, tenrecoids are recognized as part of the Afrotheria. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Tenrecoidea.

Keywords:   Africa, tenrecs, Tenrecidae, golden moles, Chrysochloridae, paleontology, Tenrecoidea, Egypt, tenrecoids, Afrotheria

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