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Re: Cope-ing with hyraxes

>He notes in a very brief paragraph about what hyraxes are that some
>recent analyses have suggested that hyraxes are actually more closely
>related to rhinos than to sirenians and proboscideans.  I also thought
>it would be good to mention that here so that people can appreciate
>that it ain't just paleontologists that like to argue about
>phylogenies and systematics :-)  Ron's statement is still the majority
>opinion, but like everything else in science it isn't necessarily
>Mickey Rowe     (mrowe@indiana.edu)

I called up Dr Hezy Shoshani about this, who referred me to the paper "On
the position of Proboscidea in the phylogenetic system of Eutheria: a
systematic review" in the new book "The Proboscidea" that Hezy edited with
Pascal Tassy (Oxford UP 1996).  According to Hezy, Fischer was the one who
first put forward the idea of hyraxes being related to perissodactyla
(rhinos et al) but is now backing away from this view on the strength of
new evidence from musculature and arguments that characters he was using
may show similarities based on parallelism.  In the chapter in Proboscidea,
Fischer now takes an ambivalent position, noting only that there are
arguments for both placements.  In any case it seems that Proboscidea,
Sirenia, Hyracoidea and Perrisodactyla (and possibly a few other oddities
like Desmostylia) form a clade.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net