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Jaime wrote...

> 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.
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.

Very interesting all this. I would really love to know the exact phylogeny of mammals (what do I say?mammals?the entire tetrapod phylogeny!)and see where all kinds of strange or enigmatic groupings fit in. I for one would love to know where Plesiorycteropus,Eurotamandua,meridiungulates,cynodonts,palaenodonts,pantodonts,lepticids,apatemyids and whatever fit in. And when we have entire extinct clades in Europe and Madagascar(for as far as we know) all kinds of other creatures might be lurking in some remote fossil locality or might not even have been fossilised. And when this is the case with mammals imagine how it might be for badly fossilising birds. Add to that birds (dinosaur!i said the word...)have a tendency to evolve quite bizarrely on islands (few would consider moa nalo,Apteribis,kiwi,dodo or kakapo typical compared to their closest relatives) and that islands with a vulcanic origin disappear in some time naturally and we can get really depressed by what we very possibly might never find in the fossil record.
I think i'm getting a highly unsatisfied feeling now....I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING!


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