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Re: HYRACOIDEA, how do I love thee

At 07:15 PM 2/18/97 +0000, Darren Naish wrote:
>> the
>appealing notion of a hyrax as a 'hamster-sized elephant' must be tossed

No one has ever seriously proposed this - as I noted, it is generally
agreed that sirenians are closer to elephants than hyraxes are (no matter
what their other affinities) so you can no more call a hyrax a
hamster-sized elephant (and that would have to be some hamster anyway!)
than a hare-sized manatee.

>It's worth pointing out that, while proboscideans are closely related to two
>amphibious/aquatic groups (the sirenians and desmostylians), it is not
>to state that elephants are descended from aquatic ancestors. 

Well, in the paper by Martin Fischer I cited in a related post (from
"Proboscidea") he says:

"Proboscidea and Sirenia are sister-groups.  Their last common ancestor
dates back at least to the middle or late Palaeocene, and probably lived in
Asia.  Considering that one of the groups is aquatic, that the primitive
proboscidean genus Moeritherium very likely had semi-aquatic habits, and
that Desmostylia was also aquatic, it cannot be ruled out that the last
common ancestor of Tethytheria was semi-aquatic." [Tethytheria includes
Proboscidea, Sirenia and possibly Desmostylia which is otherwise its

Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net