Phylogeny and Diversity of South American Metatherians

Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


The Metatheria include not only marsupials but all therians more related to Marsupialia than to the Eutheria. Marsupialia is considered as a metatherian crown group including all extant marsupials, their common ancestor and all of their descendants. “Ameridelphia” is not a natural group. Australidelphia includes the Microbiotheria and all Australasian marsupials. Several authors also argue that the Polydolopimorphia are Australidelphians as well. Relationships of Sparassodonta with other Metatheria are a matter of discussion. To several authors, they are more closely related to South American and Australian groups than to basal North American and/or Asian metatherians. Our concept of Didelphimorphia includes the Peradectoidea (Peradectidae and Caroloameghiniidae) and the Didelphoidea (Didelphidae and Sparassocynidae). In several analyses, the Paucituberculata appear as more closely related to the Australidelphia than to the Didelphimorphia. The relationships of the Microbiotheria within the Australidelphia have been subject of much discussion. They have been considered either as sister-taxa of all other Australidelphia, at the base of Diprotodontia, as a sister-taxon of Dasyuromorpha, as a sister-taxon of Phalangeriformes + Diprotodontia, or even related with part of the former.


Metatheria Marsupialia Ameridelphia Australidelphia Sparassodonta Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Polydolopimorphia 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.División Paleontología VertebradosMuseo de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Department of GeologyMuseum of Northern ArizonaFlagstaffUSA
  3. 3.Universidad Nacional de SaltaSaltaArgentina
  4. 4.Facultad de Ciencias NaturalesUniv Nacional de la Patagonia S.JEsquelArgentina
  5. 5.División Paleontología de VertebradosMuseo Argentino de Ciencias NaturalesBuenos AiresArgentina

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