Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 149-166

First online:

A molecular perspective on the phylogeny of placental mammals based on mitochondrial 12S rDNA sequences, with special reference to the problem of the Paenungulata

  • Mark S. SpringerAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of California
  • , John A. W. KirschAffiliated withZoological Museum, University of Wisconsin

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Part of the 12S rDNA gene was amplified and sequenced for 11 placental mammals, 3 marsupials, and 2 monotremes. Multiple alignments for these sequences and nine additional placental sequences taken from GenBank were obtained using CLUSTAL. Phylogenetic analyses were performed using standard parsimony, transversion parsimony, and Lake's method of invariants. All of our analyses uniteLoxodontia withDugong. Procavia, in turn, is a sister group to these taxa, thus supporting the monophyly of the Paenungulata. Perissodactyls are a sister group to paenungulates when transitions and transversions are both included but not when transitions are omitted. Likewise, cetaceans are a sister group to artiodactyls on minimum length trees under standard parsimony but not under transversion parsimony. Rodent monophyly and bat monophyly also receive mixed support, as does a putative alliance between primates and lagomorphs. Interestingly, the percentage divergence between the echidna and the platypus is less than for the rat and mouse.

Key words

molecular systematics phylogeny placental mammals mitochondrial rDNA Paenungulata