Altungulata or Pantomesaxonia (sensu and later authors) is an invalid clade (mirorder) of ungulate mammals comprising the perissodactyls, hyracoids, and tethytheres (sirenians, proboscideans, and related extinct taxa.) The name "Pantomesaxonia" was originally introduced by, a German zoologist and racial theorist. It was resurrected by by including sirenians and excluding South American ungulates, phenacodontids, and meniscotheriids from the original concept. The name "Altungulata", introduced by and revised by, was erected as an alternative because the updated concept of "Pantomesaxonia" was regarded too deviant from the original concept.
Traditionally, the odd-toed ungulates were classified with other mammals such as artiodactyls, hyraxes, mammals with a proboscis, and other "ungulates". A close family relationship with hyraxes was suspected based on similarities in the construction of the ear and the course of the carotid artery. Recent molecular genetic studies, however, have shown the ungulates to be polyphyletic, meaning that in some cases the similarities are the result of convergent evolution rather than common ancestry. Elephants and hyraxes are now considered to belong to Afrotheria, so are not closely related to the perissodactyls.
Clade Paenungulata. Order Hyracoidea: hyraxes or dassies (Africa, Middle East). Order Proboscidea: elephants (Africa, Southeast Asia). Order Sirenia: dugong and manatees (cosmopolitan tropical). Order †Desmostylia (tentatively placed in Perissodactyla by a 2014 cladistic analysis ). Order †Embrithopoda. Evolution of mammals. Fauna of Africa. ( pdf version). ( pdf version). IUCN species survival commission: Afrotheria specialist group. Information on the members of Afrotheria, with pictures. Evolution of the mammalian placenta revealed by phylogenetic analysis.
This may explain, in part, the tremendous evolutionary radiation of the condylarths that we can observe throughout the Paleocene, resulting in the different groups of ungulates (or "hoofed mammals") that form the dominant herbivores in most Cenozoic animal communities on land, except on the island continent of Australia. Among recent mammals, Paenungulata (hyraxes, elephants, and sea cows), Perissodactyla (horses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs), Artiodactyla (pigs, deer, antelope, cows, camels, hippos, and their relatives), Cetacea (whales), and Tubulidentata (aardvarks) are traditionally regarded as members of the Ungulata.
In the past, elephant shrews have been classified with the shrews and hedgehogs as part of the Insectivora; regarded as distant relatives of the ungulates; grouped with the treeshrews; and lumped in with the hares and rabbits in the Lagomorpha. Recent molecular evidence, however, strongly supports a superorder Afrotheria that unites elephant shrews with tenrecs and golden moles as well as certain mammals previously presumed to be ungulates, including hyraxes, sirenians, aardvarks and elephants. The 19 species of elephant shrew are placed in five genera, two of which are monotypic: * ORDER MACROSCELIDEA. Family Macroscelididae. Genus Elephantulus.
Tethytheria is a clade of mammals that includes the sirenians and proboscideans, as well as the extinct order Embrithopoda. Though there is strong anatomical and molecular support for the monophyly of Tethytheria, the interrelationships between the included taxa remain disputed. The tethytheres are united by several characters, including anteriorly facing orbits and more or less bilophodont cheek teeth (double transverse ridges on the crowns of the teeth). Proboscidea and Sirenia are linked together based on auditory characters in their petrosal bones, but this link may be a homoplasy.
The Latin suffix -(i)formes meaning "having the form of" is used for the scientific name of orders of birds and fishes, but not for those of mammals and invertebrates. The suffix -ales is for the name of orders of plants, fungi, and algae. For some clades covered by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, a number of additional classifications are sometimes used, although not all of these are officially recognised. In their 1997 classification of mammals, McKenna and Bell used two extra levels between superorder and order: "grandorder" and "mirorder". Michael Novacek (1986) inserted them at the same position.
The Proboscidea (from the Greek προβοσκίς and the Latin proboscis) are a taxonomic order of afrotherian mammals containing one living family (Elephantidae) and several extinct families. This order, first described by J. Illiger in 1811, encompasses the trunked mammals. In addition to their enormous size, later proboscideans are distinguished by tusks and long, muscular trunks; these features were less developed or absent in the smaller early proboscideans. Beginning in the mid-Miocene, most members of this order were very large animals. The largest land mammal today is the African elephant weighing up to 10.4 tonnes with a shoulder height of up to 4 m.
meridiungulatemeridiungulatesSouth American ungulate
Much of the evolution of meridiungulates occurred in isolation from other ungulates, a great example of convergent evolution. However, the argument that meridiungulates are related to artiodactyls and perissodactyls needs support from molecular sequencing. Some paleontologists have also challenged the monophyly of Meridiungulata by suggesting that the pyrotheres are more closely related to other mammals, such as Embrithopoda (an African order possibly related to elephants), than to other South American ungulates.
Their closest extant relatives are the sirenians (dugongs and manatees) and the hyraxes, with which they share the clade Paenungulata within the superorder Afrotheria. Elephants and sirenians are further grouped in the clade Tethytheria. Three species of elephants are recognised; the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) and forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) of sub-Saharan Africa, and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) of South and Southeast Asia. African elephants have larger ears, a concave back, more wrinkled skin, a sloping abdomen, and two finger-like extensions at the tip of the trunk.
placentalplacental mammalplacental mammals
Magnorder Afrotheria (elephant shrews, tenrecs, golden moles, hyraxes, elephants, and manatees). Superorder Afroinsectiphilia. Order Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles). Order Macroscelidea (elephant shrews). Order Tubulidentata (aardvark). Superorder Paenungulata. Order Hyracoidea (hyraxes). Mirorder Tethytheria (elephants, dugongs, and manatees). Order Proboscidea (elephants). Order Sirenia (dugongs and manatees). Magnorder Boreoeutheria. Superorder Euarchontoglires (treeshrews, colugos, primates, rabbits, hares, and rodents). Grandorder Gliriformes. Mirorder Glires. Order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, and pikas). Order Rodentia (rodents: mice, rats, voles, squirrels, beavers, etc.).
Arsinoitheriidae is a family of hoofed mammals belonging to the extinct order Embrithopoda. Remains have been found in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Romania. When alive, they would have borne a strong but superficial resemblance to modern rhinoceroses; however, they were not closely related to them (or any other perissodactyl), instead being more closely related to hyraxes, elephants, sirenians, and possibly desmostylians (as part of the superorder afrotheria). The last genus, Arsinoitherium, was first recovered from the Latest Eocene of the Fayum; it disappears from the fossil record altogether before the end of the Early Oligocene.
PalaeoceneLate PaleocenePaleocene epoch
In general, Paleocene mammals retained this small size until near the end of the epoch, and, consequently, early mammal bones are not well preserved in the fossil record, and most of what we know comes from fossil teeth. Multituberculates, a now-extinct rodent-like group not closely related to any modern mammal, were the most successful group of mammals in the Mesozoic, and they reached peak diversity in the early Paleocene. During this time, multituberculate taxa had a wide range of dental complexity, which correlates to a broader range in diet for the group as a whole.
The Desmostylia (from Greek δεσμά desma, "bundle", and στῦλος stylos, "pillar") are an extinct order of aquatic mammals that existed from the early Oligocene (Rupelian) to the late Miocene (Tortonian). Desmostylians are the only known extinct order of marine mammals (Thalassocnus, a genus of marine sloths, became extinct more recently). The Desmostylia, together with Sirenia and Proboscidea (and possibly Embrithopoda), have traditionally been assigned to the afrotherian clade Tethytheria, a group named after the paleoocean Tethys around which they originally evolved.
The taxonomy that was widely accepted by the end of the 20th century was: Modern cetaceans are highly adapted sea creatures which, morphologically, have little in common with land mammals; they are similar to other marine mammals, such as seals and sea cows, due to convergent evolution. However, they evolved from originally terrestrial mammals. The most likely ancestors were long thought to be mesonychids — large, carnivorous animals from the early Cenozoic (Paleocene and Eocene), which had hooves instead of claws on their feet. Their molars were adapted to a carnivorous diet, resembling the teeth in modern toothed whales, and, unlike other mammals, have a uniform construction.
†Order Ptolemaiida: extinct carnivorous mammals, probably closely related to aardvarks. Clade Paenungulata.
Tenrecs are small mammals of variable body form. The smallest species are the size of shrews, with a body length of around 4.5 cm, and weighing just 5 g, while the largest, the common or tailless tenrec, is 25 to 39 cm in length, and can weigh over 1 kg. Although they may resemble shrews, hedgehogs, or opposums, they are not closely related to any of these groups, their closest relatives being the otter shrews, and after that, other African insectivorous mammals, such as golden moles and elephant shrews. The common ancestry of these animals, along with aardvarks, hyraxes, elephants, and sea cows in the group Afrotheria, was not recognized until the late 1990s.
Manatees are occasionally called sea cows, as they are slow plant-eaters, peaceful and similar to cows on land. They often graze on water plants in tropical seas. Manatees are three of the four living species in the order Sirenia. The fourth is the Eastern Hemisphere's dugong. The Sirenia are thought to have evolved from four-legged land mammals more than 60 million years ago, with the closest living relatives being the Proboscidea (elephants) and Hyracoidea (hyraxes). The Amazonian's hair color is brownish gray, and it has thick wrinkled skin, often with coarse hair, or "whiskers".
Except for the North American Virginia opossum, which is a metatherian, all post-Miocene mammals indigenous to Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America north of Mexico are eutherians. Extant eutherians, their last common ancestor, and all extinct descendants of that ancestor are members of Placentalia. Eutherians are distinguished from noneutherians by various phenotypic traits of the feet, ankles, jaws and teeth. All extant eutherians lack epipubic bones, which are present in all other living mammals (marsupials and monotremes). This allows for expansion of the abdomen during pregnancy. The oldest-known eutherian species is Juramaia sinensis, dated at from the Jurassic in China.
aquatic mammalsaquaticaquatic or sea mammals
Sirenians, along with Proboscidea (elephants), group together with the extinct Desmostylia and likely the extinct Embrithopoda to form the Tethytheria. Tethytheria is thought to have evolved from primitive hoofed mammals ("condylarths") along the shores of the ancient Tethys Ocean. Tethytheria, combined with Hyracoidea (hyraxes), forms a clade called Paenungulata. Paenungulata and Tethytheria (especially the latter) are among the least controversial mammalian clades, with strong support from morphological and molecular interpretations. That is, elephants, hyraxes, and manatees share a common ancestry.
The ear ossicles are pachyosteosclerotic (dense and compact) and differently shaped from land mammals (other aquatic mammals, such as sirenians and earless seals, have also lost their pinnae). T semicircular canals are much smaller relative to body size than in other mammals. The auditory bulla is separated from the skull and composed of two compact and dense bones (the periotic and tympanic) referred to as the tympanoperiotic complex.
Late EoceneMiddle EoceneEocene Epoch
The oldest known fossils of most of the modern mammal orders appear within a brief period during the early Eocene. At the beginning of the Eocene, several new mammal groups arrived in North America. These modern mammals, like artiodactyls, perissodactyls and primates, had features like long, thin legs, feet and hands capable of grasping, as well as differentiated teeth adapted for chewing. Dwarf forms reigned. All the members of the new mammal orders were small, under 10 kg; based on comparisons of tooth size, Eocene mammals were only 60% of the size of the primitive Palaeocene mammals that preceded them. They were also smaller than the mammals that followed them.
These studies separated his ungulate orders into two distinct placental groups, within Afrotheria and Laurasiatheria, respectively. The 'true' ungulates, Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla, along with the whales, are included in the revised group, along with the Carnivora, and with the addition of pangolins (Pholidota), but the Tubulidentata and paenungulates are excluded. To reflect this difference, the revised clade is usually referred to as Fereuungulata. The Fereuungulata is a sister group to the Chiroptera (bats) and together they make up Scrotifera. *Mammal classification
A rhinoceros, commonly abbreviated to rhino, is one of any five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae, as well as any of the numerous extinct species therein. Two of the extant species are native to Africa and three to Southern Asia. The term "rhinoceros" is often more broadly applied to now extinct species of the superfamily Rhinocerotoidea. Members of the rhinoceros family are some of the largest remaining megafauna, with all species able to reach or exceed one tonne in weight.
Golden moles are small insectivorous burrowing mammals endemic to Southern Africa, where their Afrikaans names are gouemolle or kruipmolle (singular gouemol or kruipmol). They comprise the family Chrysochloridae and as such they are taxonomically distinct from the true moles, family Talpidae, and other mole-like families, all of which, to various degrees, they resemble as a result of evolutionary convergence. Like most burrowing mammals with similar habits, the Chrysochloridae have short legs with powerful digging claws, very dense fur that repels dirt and moisture, and toughened skin, particularly on the head. Their eyes are non-functional and covered with furred skin.