Why Evolution Is True
Why Evolution is True is a blog written by Jerry Coyne, centered on evolution and biology but also dealing with diverse topics like politics, culture, and cats.
Bats as sister group to whlaes and ungulates – I didn’t see that coming!
I know – What’s a “whlae”?!
a large mammal that swims in waetr
Interesting study, but there are still some weird bits. The non-cetacean (i.e. non-whale) marine mammals are not, as was well known, related to cetaceans. The seals, sea lions, and walruses form a monophyletic group. This is not unexpected, but there had been a long debate as to whether seals and sea lions were two separate origins of the marine habit from carnivores. (Seals and sea lions swim in very different ways– seals with their hind legs, sea lions with their front legs.) Manatees and dugongs are also a separate return to the sea for mammals (as well as, presumably, sea otters).
The closest relatives of primates are flying lemurs– a not unexpected but nonetheless exciting result. (Flying lemurs are not lemurs.)
The sister group to rodents are the tree shrews– this I find surprising. But the node is not well supported, and the next node over is the primates+flying lemurs, and tree shrews have long been associated with primates, so this would be interesting.
The clearest gaffe is that canids (dogs and foxes) are actually nested within the bats– this can’t possibly be true!
“The clearest gaffe is that canids (dogs and foxes) are actually nested within the bats– this can’t possibly be true!”
I don’t think they are. Look again.
Are you looking at the blown up version?
Yes– comments here appear only with the blown up version. And my bad– Canidae does go with the Carnivora! Sorry!
Interestingly, I made the same mistake when looking at the chart and also thought that dogs were grouped under bats.
Unfortunately, the way the chart is formatted makes it very to read. You have to follow lines very carefully to find out how two vertically-adjacent families relate.
At least they didn’t overlook the Aplodontidae, the mountain beaver. (There’s only one species.)
A friend who lives and gardens in the forest NE of Seattle was not amused when he told me his garden was being ravaged by mountain beavers and I first laughed, then told him to encourage them as they are a shy species suffering from habitat destruction. What’s a few hostas compared to an animal with no relatives to speak of?
I wish we had mountain beavers on Vancouver Island, but alas! we don’t.
“All marine mammals are a monophyletic group”
No they’re not – e.g. you can see the Dugongidae and Trichechidae down there with the elephants.
Where are Homo sapiens on this? In the Hominade group? I know it’s in the Placentalia but not sure from there exactly, thank you