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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 72, Issue 5, pp 257–282 | Cite as

Evolution and systematics of the feliform Carnivora

  • Ewa BaryckaEmail author
Review

Abstract

Recent studies have improved our knowledge about the evolution and phylogeny of feliform taxa. Detailed study on new fossil remains of extinct feliform nimravides allows a new hypothesis concerning interrelationships within this family. Many factors indicate lack of sister relationships of Nimravinae and Barbourofelinae. However, only further investigations may bring full acceptance of this hypothesis. The paraphyly of Viverridae has been resolved by excluding the taxa Nandinia, Prionodon and Cryptoprocta and Fossa, which today are placed basally to all remaining Feliformia (family Nandiniidae), as sister taxon of Felidae (family Prionodontidae) and as Malagasy Carnivora lineage basal to hyaenid-herpestid clade, respectively. Still, incongruence among results concerning the systematic position of these taxa exhibits the necessity of further investigation. Detailed study revealed inconsistencies within genet and genet-like taxa phylogeny, which have still to be resolved. Malagasy Carnivora belong to a separate lineage, which originated from herpestid-hyaenid ancestors and colonised Madagascar during a single colonisation event. However, interrelationships among Malagasy Carnivora are poorly resolved. The situation of the social mongooses clade was resolved by including ethologic data to phylogenetic analyses; however, there is little information on solitary mongooses, which have a paraphyletic status today. Felid morphology and taxonomic revision attained during recent years show greater evolutionary differentiation. Nevertheless, no clear taxonomy has been achieved. New investigating methods are required. In the hyaenid family, which includes only four living species, some investigations related to the ecomorphological evolutionary path have been performed. The comparisons of fossil and subfossil remains with modern feliforms, combined with recent molecular methods, may improve our knowledge. 2007

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde. Published by Elsevier GmbH

Key words

Carnivores Felidae Viverridae morphology phylogeny 

Eine evolutionäre und systematische Revision der Katzenartigen (Feliformia)

Zusammenfassung

Jüngste Forschungsergebnisse haben unseren Kenntnisstand über die Evolution und die Phylogenese der katzenartigen Taxa erweitert. Ausfü hrliche Studien, basierend auf den Untersuchungen neuer Funde der ausgestorbenen Nimvramiden, führten zu einer neuen Hypothese der Verwandtschaft innerhalb dieser Familie. Viel spricht gegen eine Verwandtschaft zwischen Nimravinae und Barbourofelinae. Die Bestätigung dieser Hypothese erfordert jedoch weitere Untersuchungen.

Der Paraphylie der Viverridae wurde gelöst durch die Ausschließung der Taxa Nandinia, Prionodon, Cryptoprocta und Fossa. Nandinia wurde angesehen als das basale Taxon aller modernen Feliformia (Familie Nandiniidae), Prionodon als das Schwestertaxon derr Felidae (Familie Prionodontidae) und Fossa als Linie madagassischer Raubtiere basal des Kladus Hyaenidae-Herpestidae.

Uneinigkeit zwischen Forschern, die systematische Stellung dieser Taxa betreffend, bestätigt die Notwendigkeit weiterer Forschungen. Madagassische Raubtiere sind aus den Hyaenidae-Herpesti-dae-Vorfahren entstanden und haben Madagaskar einmalig kolonisiert. Trotzdem ist die Verwandtschaft innerhalb der madagassischen Carnivoren kaum untersucht. Ethologische und phylogenetische Analysen haben zu einer Lösung der Verwandtschaftsfrage sozial lebenden Mangusten geführt, jedoch ist der Status der solitären Mangusten, welche momentan als paraphyletisch gelten, ungeklärt. Die systematische und morphologische Revision der Katzen (Felidae), durchgeführt in den letzten Jahren, zeigt eine große Vielfalt dieser Gruppe. Mit der Hilfe dieser Revision wurde jedoch keine einheitliche Systematik ausgearbeitet, wodurch Forscher gezwungen sind, neue Methoden anzuwenden. Auch für die Gruppe der Hyänen, die vier rezente Arten umfaßt, wurden Fortschritte erzielt.

Der Vergleich fossiler, subfossiler und rezenter Katzenartiger in Verbindung mit neuesten molekularen Methoden könnte unser Wissen deutlich bereichern.

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© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum and Institute of ZoologyPolish Academy of SciencesWarszawaPoland

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