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EUROTAMANDUA & KIN
> As for *Pseudorycteropus* ("order" Bibymalagasia)
What's this? The only bibymalagasian I know of is
_Plesiorycteropus_. While MacPhee described this taxon in
great depth, and compared it with all placental groups, he
didn't ally it with any other group. I don't think anyone has
incorporated bibymalagasians into any phylogenetic study,
but at least a few workers have said that they think that they
might be allied to (or part of) the aardvarks after all.
> I have no knowledge of
> it's phylogenetics. Same for *Eurotamandua*, etc....
The phylogenetic position of _Eurotamandua_ has been
discussed at length in...
Szalay, F. S. & Schrenk, F. 1998. The Middle Eocene
_Eurotamandua_ and a Darwinian phylogenetic analysis of
?edentates?. _Kaupia_ 7, 97-186.
Delsuc, F., Catzeflis, F. M., Stanhope, M. J. & Douzery, E.
J. P. 2001. The evolution of armadillos, anteaters and sloths
depicted by nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies:
implications for the status of the enigmatic fossil
Eurotamandua. _Proceedings of the Royal Society of
London B_ 268, 1605-1615.
Szalay and Schrenk showed that _Eurotamandua_ lacks
xenarthrous articulations and thus is not even a xenarthran
(and it only appears superficially similar to _Eomanis
waldi_ [which probably is a true pangolin: _Eomanis
krebsi_ is a juvenile of _Eurotamandua_]) and they also
excluded close affinities with pangolins (contra Shoshani et
al. 1997) and palaeanodonts (contra McKenna 1987). They
conclude that it is representative of a distinct lineage, the
Afredentata, which has an otherwise unknown fossil record.
In their phylogram however they posit lose relations with
palaeanodonts and xenarthrans.
Szalay's philosophical position on this is important: he
applies cladistics but argues for a 'Darwinian approach' in
which the validity of all characters are assessed (i.e., shown
to be of phylogenetic 'value') and parsimony tests are
regarded as less than ideal because they incorporate loads of
junk characters. You can decided for yourself whether any
of this is more subjective than any other method. Szalay
calls the application of (computer-assisted) parsimony the
'consensus management method'. No doubt his views are
way more complex than indicated here, but he can be
thought of as a 'non-numerical cladist'.
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth UK, PO1 3QL
tel: 023 92846045