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Re: Post–K-Pg Radiation of Placentals

David Černý <david.cerny1@gmail.com> wrote:

> The PDF is freely available at the following link:
> http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/images/features/oleary130208.pdf

The Supplementary Material is also worth checking out.  It's
absolutely huge, running to 131 pages.

One result of this phenomic+molecular study by O'Leary &c is that it
disagrees slightly with the picture of cetacean evolution given by
Gatesy &c (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.10.012) mentioned
recently.  O'Leary &c recover _Rodhocetus_ as basal to a
Perissodactyla+Artiodactyla clade (= Euungulata), with _Artiocetus_
and _Basilosaurus_ as successive outgroups between Hippopotamidae and
crown Cetacea.  By contrast, Gatesy &c have _Rodhocetus_, _Artiocetus_
and _Basilosaurus_ all as stem cetaceans.  As stated in the
Supplementary Material of O'Leary &c: "The position of _Rodhocetus_ in
the combined data tree... outside of Euungulata and not particularly
close to Artiodactyla, makes for a more complex and mosaic
optimization of ankle characters."  No kidding!

The Supp Material also makes this interesting (and potentially
tantalizing) statement about Chiroptera: "It remains possible that
some fossils representing bat relatives have gone unrecognized because
of they lack specializations for flight, and because the primitive bat
dentition is tribosphenic and generally unremarkable."  So we may have
already found proto-bats.... but not know they are proto-bats.