A Total Evidence Phylogeny of the Arctoidea (Carnivora: Mammalia): Relationships Among Basal Taxa

Original Paper


A total evidence phylogenetic analysis was performed for 14 extant and 18 fossil caniform genera using a data matrix of 5.6 kbp of concatenated sequence data from six independent loci and 80 morphological characters from the cranium and dentition. Maximum parsimony analysis recovered a single most parsimonious cladogram (MPC). The topology of the extant taxa in the MPC agreed with previous molecular phylogenies. Phylogenetic positions for fossil taxa indicate that several taxa previously described as early members of extant families (e.g., Bathygale and Plesictis) are likely stem taxa at the base of the Arctoidea. Taxa in the “Paleomustelidae” were found to be paraphyletic, but a monophyletic Oligobuninae was recovered within this set of taxa. This clade was closely related to the extant genera Gulo and Martes, therefore, nested within the extant radiation of the family Mustelidae. This analysis provides a resolution to several discrepancies between phylogenies considering either fossil taxa or extant taxa separately, and provides a framework for incorporating fossil and extant taxa into comprehensive combined evidence analyses.


Arctoidea Carnivora DNA Morphology Phylogeny Total evidence 



J. Flynn provided ideas and feedback during the course of this project. I am grateful to W. Stanley and M. Schulenberg for assistance and access to the mammal collections in the Division of Mammals, Field Museum of Natural History. For assistance and access to fossil collections I also thank: W. Simpson (Field Museum of Natural History); J. Meng, C. Norris, J. Galkin (American Museum of Natural History); W. Joyce, D. Brinkman, M. Benoit (Yale Peabody Museum), P. Tassy, C. Sagne (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris), A. Currant (NHM, London) and X. Wang, S. McLeod, G. Takeuchi (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and J. R. Wible for comments and corrections on manuscript drafts. This work was funded, in part, by National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DEB-0608208), a Brown Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship, and by the University of Michigan, Society of Fellows.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Museum of PaleontologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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