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{{short description|Order of tetrapods}}{{Taxobox| name = Condylarths
66.5Late CretaceousOligocene, 66.5–23 Ma}}|image = Arctocyon DB.jpg|image_caption=Arctocyon, a plantigrade condylarth| regnum = Animalia| phylum = Chordata| classis = Mammalia| infraclassis = Eutheria| superordo = Laurasiatheria?| ordo = †CondylarthraCope|1881}}| subdivision_ranks = Families| subdivision = }}Condylarthra is an informal group – previously considered an order – of extinct placental mammals, known primarily from the Paleocene and Eocene epochs.{{Harvnb|McKenna|Bell|1997}} They are considered early, primitive ungulates. It is now largely considered to be a wastebasket taxon, having served as a dumping ground for classifying ungulates which had not been clearly established as part of either Perissodactyla or Cetartiodactyla, being composed thus of several unrelated lineages.WEB,weblink Tetrapod Zoology, Scientific American, Phenacodontidae, I feel like I know you, Darren, Naish, 8 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 10 March 2014, JOURNAL, 10.1371/journal.pone.0109232, 25295875, Anthracobunids from the Middle Eocene of India and Pakistan Are Stem Perissodactyls, PLoS ONE, 9, 10, e109232, 2014-10-08, Cooper, L. N., Seiffert, E. R., Clementz, M., Madar, S. I., Bajpai, S., Hussain, S. T., Thewissen, J. G. M., harv, 4189980, {{Harvnb|Janis|1993}}

Taxonomic history

Condylarthra always was a problematic group. When Condylarthra was first described by {{Harvnb|Cope|1881}}, Phenacodontidae was the type and only family therein. {{Harvnb|Cope|1885}}, however, raised Condylarthra to an order and included a wide range of diverse placentals with generalized dentitions and postcranial skeletons. More recent researchers (i.e. post-WW2) have been more restrictive; either including only a limited number of taxa, or proposing that the term should be abandoned altogether.{{Harvnb|Thewissen|1990|p=20}} Due to their primitive characteristics condylarths have been considered ancestral to several ungulate orders, including the living Artiodactyla, Cetacea, Perissodactyla, Hyracoidea, Sirenia, and Proboscidea, as well as the extinct Desmostylia, Embrithopoda, Litopterna, Notoungulata, and Astrapotheria.BOOK, Rose, Kenneth D., The beginning of the Age of Mammals, 2006, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 9780801892219, Archaic Ungulates, {{Harvnb|Prothero|Manning|Fischer|1988}} delimited condylarths as those having the following characters, but lacking the specializations present in more derived orders:

Evolutionary history

File:Ectocion Ralstonensis.jpg|thumb|left|EctocionEctocionThe disappearance of the dinosaurs opened up an ecological niche for large mammalian herbivores. Some condylarths evolved to fill the niche, while others remained insectivorous. This may explain, in part, the tremendous evolutionary radiation of the condylarths that we can observe throughout the Paleocene, resulting in the different groups of ungulates (or "hoofed mammals") that form the dominant herbivores in most Cenozoic animal communities on land, except on the island continent of Australia.Among recent mammals, Paenungulata (hyraxes, elephants, and sea cows), Perissodactyla (horses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs), Artiodactyla (pigs, deer, antelope, cows, camels, hippos, and their relatives), Cetacea (whales), and Tubulidentata (aardvarks) are traditionally regarded as members of the Ungulata.{{Harvnb|Novacek|1986}} Besides these, several extinct animals also belong to this group, especially the endemic South American orders of ungulates, (Meridiungulata). Although many ungulates have hoofs, this feature does not define the Ungulata. Indeed, some condylarths had small hoofs on their feet, but the most primitive forms are clawed.Recent molecular and DNA research has reorganised the picture of mammalian evolution. Paenungulates and tubulidentates are seen as afrotherians, and no longer seen as closely related to the laurasiatherian perissodactyls, artiodactyls, and cetaceans,{{Harvnb|Madsen|Scally|Douady|Kao|2001}}{{Harvnb|Murphy|Eizirik|O'Brien|Madsen|2001}} implying that hooves were acquired independently (i.e. were analogous) by at least two different mammalian lineages, once in the Afrotheria and once in the Laurasiatheria. Condylarthra itself, therefore, is polyphyletic: the several condylarth groups are not closely related to each other at all. Indeed, Condylarthra is sometimes regarded as a 'wastebasket' taxon.{{Harvnb|Janis|1993}} True relationships remain in many cases unresolved.In addition to meridiungulates and living ungulates, a condylarthran ancestry has been proposed for several other extinct groups of mammals, including Mesonychia{{Harvnb|Van Valen|1966}} and Dinocerata.{{Harvnb|Van Valen|1988}}


{{div col}} {{div col end}}

See also

{{Commons category|Condylarthra}}


{{More citations needed|date=January 2010}}{{Reflist|30em}}



, Cope, E. D., Edward Drinker Cope
, A new type of Perissodactyla
, 1881, American Naturalist, 15, 12, 1017–20
, 45953517, harv, 10.1086/272983,

, Cope, E. D.
, 1885
, The Vertebrata of the Tertiary Formations of the West
, U. S. Geological Survey of the Territories, 3, 9
, 1–1009
,weblink April 2013
, 3934701, harv, 10.1017/s0016756800467208,

, Janis, C.M.
, Tertiary Mammal Evolution in the Context of Changing Climates, Vegetation, and Tectonic Events
, 1993, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 24, 467–500
, 10.1146/, harv,

, Madsen, O.
, Scally, M.
, Douady, C.J.
, Kao, D.
, DeBry, R.W.; Adkins, R.; Amrine, H.M.; Stanhope, M.J.; de Jong, W.W.; Springer, M.S.
, Parallel adaptive radiations in two major clades of placental mammals
, 2001, Nature, 409, 6820, 610–614
, 10.1038/35054544, 11214318, harv,
  • BOOK

, McKenna, M.C.
, Bell, S.K.
, Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level
, 1997, Columbia University Press
, 978-0-231-11012-9, harv,

, Murphy, W.J.
, Eizirik, E.
, O'Brien, S.J.
, Madsen, O.
, Scally, M.; Douady, C.J.; Teeling, E.C.; Ryder, O.A.; Stanhope, M.J.; de Jong, W.W.; Springer, M.S.
, Resolution of the early placental mammal radiation using Bayesian phylogenetics
, 2001, Science, 294, 5550, 2348–2351
, 10.1126/science.1067179, 11743200, harv,

, Novacek, M.J.
, The skull of leptictid insectivorans and the higher-level classification of eutherian mammals
, 1986, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 183, 1, 1–111
, 2246/1628, harv,
  • BOOK

, Prothero, D.R.
, Manning, E.M.
, Fischer, M.
, The phylogeny of the ungulates
, The phylogeny and classification of the tetrapods. 2: mammals
, Benton, M. J.
, Systematics Association Special Volume 35B, 201–234
, 1988, Clarendon Press, Oxford
,weblink May 2013
, 9780198577126, harv,
  • BOOK

, Thewissen, J.G.M.
, Evolution of Paleocene and Eocene Phenacodontidae (Mammalia, Condylarthra)
, 1990, Papers on Paleontology, 29
, Museum of Paleontology, The University of Michigan
, 742731818, harv,

, Van Valen, L.M.
, Deltatheridia, a new order of mammals
, 1966, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 132, 1, 1–126
, 2246/1126, harv,

, Van Valen, L.M.
, Paleocene dinosaurs or Cretaceous ungulates in South America?
, 1988, Evolutionary Monographs, 10, 1–79
, harv,

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