Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 271–288 | Cite as

Molecular Relationships of the Extinct Pig-Footed Bandicoot Chaeropus ecaudatus (Marsupialia: Perameloidea) Using 12S rRNA Sequences

  • Michael WestermanEmail author
  • Mark S. Springer
  • Joan Dixon
  • Carey Krajewski


The pig-footed bandicoot, Chaeropus ecaudatus, is presumed to be extinct as no specimens have been collected or seen since early this century. Usually classified as a specialized member of the family Peramelidae, there is nevertheless still some doubt as to its taxonomic affinities, because this animal is highly specialized and shows several uniquely derived characters. We report here the first attempt to determine the molecular relationships of this animal using mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequences derived from spirit-preserved museum specimens. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the sequence derived from the Chaeropus sample is clearly that of a bandicoot. Within the bandicoot clade, the pig-footed bandicoot is quite distinct from all other taxa. Divergence-time estimates from the 12S rRNA sequences suggest that Chaeropus diverged from the other bandicoot genera in the late Oligocene or early Miocene and that bandicoots diverged from other Australian families in the late Paleocene–early Eocene.

12S rRNA pig-footed bandicoot Chaeropus ecaudatus Perameloidea marsupial phylogeny 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aplin, K. P., Baverstock, P. R., and Donnellan, S. C. (1993). Albumin immunological evidence for the time and mode of origin of the New Guinean terrestrial mammal fauna. Sci. New Guinea 19: 131–145.Google Scholar
  2. Archer, M. (1976). The Bluff Downs local fauna. In: The Allingham Formation and a New Pliocene Vertebrate Fauna from Northern Queensland, M. Archer and M. Wade, eds. Mem. Queenland. Mus. 17: 383–395.Google Scholar
  3. Archer, M., and Kirsch, J. A. W. (1977). The case for Thylacomyidae and Myrmecobiidae, Gill, 1872, or why are marsupial families so extended? Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 102: 18–25.Google Scholar
  4. Archer, M., Hand, S. J., and Godthelp, H. (1991). “Riverleigh”: The Story of Animals in the Ancient Rainforests of Inland Australia, Reed Books, Balgowlah, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  5. Ashby, E., Lunney, D., Robertshaw, J., and Harden, R. (1990). Distribution and status of bandicoots in New South Wales. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 43–50, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  6. Baverstock, P. R., Flannery, T., Aplin, K., Birrell, J., and Krieg, M. (1990a). Albumin immunologic relationships of the bandicoots (Perameloidea: Marsupialia)—A preliminary report. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 13–18, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  7. Baverstock, P. R., Krieg, M., and Birrell, J. (1990b). Evolutionary relationships of Australian marsupials as assessed by albumin immunology. Aust. J. Zool. 37: 273–287.Google Scholar
  8. Bensley, B. A. (1903). On the evolution of the Australian Marsupialia: With remarks on the marsupials in general. Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 9: 83–217.Google Scholar
  9. Burbridge, A. A., Johnson, K. A., Fuller, P. J., and Southgate, R. I. (1988). Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Aust. Wildl. Res. 15: 9–39.Google Scholar
  10. Close, R. L., Murray, J. D., and Briscoe, D. A. (1990). Electrophoretic and chromosome surveys of the taxa of short-nosed bandicoots within the genus Isoodon. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 19–27, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  11. Felsenstein, J. (1985). Confidence limits on phylogenies: An approach using the bootstrap. Evolution 39: 783–791.Google Scholar
  12. Felsenstein, J. (1992). PHYLIP (Phylogenetic Inference Package), Version 3.5, Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle.Google Scholar
  13. Flannery, T. F. (1990). Mammals of New Guinea, Robert Brown, Carina, Queensland.Google Scholar
  14. Friend, J. A. (1990). Status of bandicoots in Western Australia. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 73–84, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  15. Gordon, G., and Hulbert, A. J. (1989). Peramelidae. In: Fauna of Australia. Mammalia, Vol. 1B, D. W. Walton and B. J. Richardson, eds., pp. 603–624, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.Google Scholar
  16. Groves, C. P., and Flannery, T. (1990). Revision of the families and genera of bandicoots. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 1–11, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  17. Hasegawa, M. H., Kishino, H., and Yano, T. (1985). Dating the human-ape split by a molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA. J. Mol. Evol. 22: 160–174.Google Scholar
  18. Johnson, K. A., and Southgate, R. I. (1990). Present and former status of bandicoots in the Northern Territory. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 85–92, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  19. Kemper, C. (1990). Status of bandicoots in South Australia. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 67–72, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  20. Kirsch, J. A. W. (1968). Prodromus of the comparative serology of Marsupialia. Nature 217: 418–420.Google Scholar
  21. Kirsch, J. A. W. (1977). The comparative serology of Marsupialia, and a classification of marsupials. Aust. J. Zool. Suppl. Ser. 52: 1–152.Google Scholar
  22. Kirsch, J. A. W., Springer, M. S., Krajewski, C., Archer, M., Aplin, K., and Dickerman, A. W. (1990). DNA-DNA hybridization studies of carnivorous marsupials. I. The intergeneric relationships of bandicoots (Marsupialia: Perameloidea). J. Mol. Evol. 30: 434–448.Google Scholar
  23. Kirsch, J. A. W., Lapointe, F.-J., and Springer, M.S. (1997). DNA-hybridization studies of marsupials and their implications for metatherian classification. Aust. J. Zool. 45: 211–280.Google Scholar
  24. Kishino, H., and Hasegawa, M. (1989). Evaluation of the maximum-likelihood estimate of the evolutionary tree topologies from DNA sequence data and the branching order in Hominidae. J. Mol. Evol. 29: 170–179.Google Scholar
  25. Krajewski, C., Painter, J., Driskell, A. C., Buckley, L., and Westerman, M. (1993). Molecular systematics of New Guinean dasyurids (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae). Sci. New Guinea 19: 157–166.Google Scholar
  26. Krajewski, C., Blacket, M., Buckley, L., and Westerman, M. (1997). A multigene assessment of phylogenetic relationships within the dasyurid marsupial subfamily Sminthopsinae. Mol. Phys. Evol. 8: 236–248.Google Scholar
  27. Mahoney, J. A., and Ride, W. D. L. (1988). Peramelidae. In: Zoological Catalogue of Australia. 5 Mammalia, D. W. Walton, ed., pp. 36–42, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.Google Scholar
  28. Martin, P. G., and Hayman, D. L. (1967). Quantitative comparisons between the karyotypes of Australian marsupials from three different superfamilies. Chromosoma (Berl.) 20: 290–310.Google Scholar
  29. Menkhorst, P. W., and Seebeck, J. H. (1990). Distribution and conservation status of bandicoots in Victoria. In: Bandicoots and Bilbies, J. H. Seebeck, P. R. Brown, R. L. Wallis, and C. M. Kemper, eds., pp. 51–60, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, N.S.W.Google Scholar
  30. Muirhead, J., and Archer, M. (1991). Odontology: Part V, Bandicoots. Riversleigh Notes 13: 4–7.Google Scholar
  31. Muirhead, J., and Filan, S. L. (1995) Yarala burchfieldi, a plesiomorphic bandicoot (Marsupialia, Peramelemorphia) from Oligo-Miocene deposits of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland. J. Paleontol. 69: 127–134.Google Scholar
  32. Muirhead, J., and Godthelp, H. (1995). Fossil bandicoots of Chillagoe (Northeastern Queensland) and the first known specimens of the pig-footed bandicoot Chaeropus Ogilby, 1838, from Queensland. Aust. Mammal. 19: 73–76.Google Scholar
  33. Muirhead, J., Dawson, L., and Archer, M. (1997) Perameles bowensis, a new species of Perameles (Peramelemorphia, Marsupialia) from the Pliocene Faunas of Bow and Wellington Caves, New South Wales. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 117: 163–174.Google Scholar
  34. Prager, E. M., and Wilson, A. C. (1988). Ancient origin of lactalbumin from lysozyme: Analysis of DNA and amino acid sequences. J. Mol. Evol. 27: 326–335.Google Scholar
  35. Retief, J. D., Krajewski, C., Westerman, M., Winkfein, R. J., and Dixon, G. H. (1995). Molecular phylogeny and evolution of marsupial protamine P1 genes. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B259: 7–14.Google Scholar
  36. Rofe, R. H., and Hayman, D. L. (1985). G-banding evidence for a conserved complement in the Marsupialia. Cytogenet. Cell Genet. 39: 40–50.Google Scholar
  37. Saitou, N., and Nei, M. (1987). The neighbor-joining method: A new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Mol. Biol. Evol. 4: 406–425.Google Scholar
  38. Sambrook, F., Fritsch, E. F., and Maniatis, T. (1989). Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.Google Scholar
  39. Springer, M. S. (1998). Molecular clocks and the timing of the placental and marsupial radiations in relation to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. J. Mammal. Evol. 4: 285–302.Google Scholar
  40. Springer, M. S., and Douzery, E. (1996). Secondary structure and patterns of evolution among mammalian mitochondrial 12S rRNA molecules. J. Mol. Evol. 43: 357–73.Google Scholar
  41. Springer, M. S., Hollar, L., and Burke, A. (1995). Compensatory substitutions and the evolution of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene in mammals. Mol. Biol. Evol. 12: 1138–1150.Google Scholar
  42. Springer, M. S., Kirsch, J. A. W., and Case, J. A. (1997). The chronicle of marsupial evolution. In: Molecular Evolution and Adaptive Radiation, T. J. Givnish and K. J. Sytsma, eds., pp. 129–161, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  43. Springer, M. S., Westerman, M., Kavanagh, J. R., Burk, A., Woodburne, M. O., Kao, D. J., and Krajewski, C. (1998). The origins of the Australasian marsupial fauna and the phylogenetic affinities of the enigmatic monito del monte and marsupial mole. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B268: 2381–2386.Google Scholar
  44. Stirton, R. A. (1955). Late Tertiary marsupials from South Australia. Rec. South Aust. Mus. 11: 247–268.Google Scholar
  45. Szalay, F. S. (1994). Evolutionary History of the Marsupials and an Analysis of Osteological Characters, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Tate, G. H. (1948). Results of the Archbold Expeditions, no. 60. Studies in the Peramelidae (Marsupialia). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 92: 317–346.Google Scholar
  47. Templeton, A. R. (1983). Phylogenetic inference from restriction endonuclease cleavage site maps with particular reference to the evolution of humans and the apes. Evolution 37: 221–244.Google Scholar
  48. Wirgin, I., Maceda, L., Stabile, J., and Mesing, C. (1997). An evaluation of introgression of Atlantic coast striped bass mitochondrial DNA in a Gulf of Mexico population using formalin-preserved museum collections. Mol. Ecol. 6: 907–916.Google Scholar
  49. Wright, W., Sanson, G. D. and Mcarthur, C. (1991). The diet of the extinct bandicoot Chaeropus ecaudatus. In: Vertebrate Paleontology of Australasia, P. Vickers-Rich, J. M. Monaghan, R. F. Baird, and T. H. Rich, eds., pp. 229–247, Pioneer Design Studio and Monash University Publications Committee, Melbourne.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Westerman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark S. Springer
    • 2
  • Joan Dixon
    • 3
  • Carey Krajewski
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsLaTrobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiverside
  3. 3.Museum of VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of ZoologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale

Personalised recommendations