Temporal range: Late Cretaceous - Recent
Ferae is a clade of mammals, consisting of the orders Carnivora (over 260 species, across the globe) and Pholidota (8 species of pangolin in tropical Africa and Asia). Pangolins do not look much like carnivorans (wolves, cats, seals, and so on), and were thought to be the closest relatives of Xenarthra (armadillos, sloths, and so on). But recent DNA research found the close relationship to carnivorans. Ferae also includes Creodonta, extinct primitive carnivoran-like mammals. Several extinct orders, relatives of Pholidota, are members of Ferae as well. These orders are sometimes united with the Pholidota in one, large order, Cimolesta. An alternate name, Ostentoria, has also been proposed for a grouping of Carnivora and Pholidota.
According to recent studies (reflected in the diagram below), the closest relatives of Ferae are Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs and rhinos) and Cetartiodactyla (which combines Artiodactyla--camels, pigs, ruminants and hippos—with Cetacea--whales and dolphins). An alternate phylogeny (less supported) holds that the closest relatives to Ferae are Perissodactyla and Chiroptera (bats), not Cetartiodactyla. Ferae together with Perissodactyla has been called Zooamata. Ferae, Perissodactyla, and Chiroptera together has been called Pegasoferae.
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