Tapirs belong to the family Tapiridae of the order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates). This order also includes the families Equidae (horses) and Rhinocerotidae (rhinos) among its extant members. Living tapirs are found primarily in forested areas in Central and South America and in southeast Asia. They comprise a single genus, Tapirus, with four species, three of which are American and one Asian. They are medium-sized perissodactyls, with a body weight of around 300 kg, and are apparently “primitive” among ungulates in various aspects of their morphology and behavior. Superficially, they resemble suoid artiodactyls in the degree of modification of their skeleton from the basic therian mammalian condition, with the general ungulate trend for adaptation to increasing body size and cursorial specialization.
- Middle Eocene
- Large Body Size
- Late Eocene
- World Species
- Postcranial Skeleton
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© 1984 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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Janis, C. (1984). Tapirs as Living Fossils. In: Eldredge, N., Stanley, S.M. (eds) Living Fossils. Casebooks in Earth Sciences. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-8271-3_8
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