Quick reference: phylogenies

Carnivore phylogeny:

Family tree of carnivores, dividing into dog/bear and cat branches, then smaller branches

Carnivore family tree

This is the kind of basic information that everyone should know.

Some of the words on this link go to sub-trees, but most of them go to pictures of example animals.

Other trees:

  • Phylogeny of the mammals. Four major branches of mammals are defined:
    • Afrotheria: a diverse group of mammals originating in Africa
    • Xenarthra: a group once included in the order Edentata (anteaters, armadillos and sloths).
    • Euarchontoglires: a group that includes the Primates and the Glires (Rabbits + Rodents) as sister taxa.
    • Laurasiatheria: includes the Ungulate orders (Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla), Carnivores, Pangolins, Bats and Insectivores.

Physiology of the unglates:

Ungulate family tree divides the odd-toed from the even-toed plus whales

Ungulate family tree

Note that the closest living relative of whales are hippos! Since the discovery of transitional fossils linking whales to the hoofed animals, orders Artiodactyla and Cetacea have been combined into Cetartiodactyla.

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Trees like these were originally devised to trace similar characteristics between species and to systematically group them into more or less similar. Only later was it realized that these trees also represent bonds of common ancestry.

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