Talk:Mammal classification

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Moved Information[edit]

This page contains information moved from the article Mammal.

This might be a good model for future articles on taxonomy. It's well written, properly referenced, comprehensive, and provides suitable context. While technical, the embedded jargon is linked, and doesn't hinder a general understanding of the article. 13:38, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Can I insert the Mammal Taxonomy classification? Ucucha 07:47, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My opinion is that if you keep the references in, then it's no more original research than what we do across wikipedia TOL. We make a decision among the authorities that have written on the subject and compile it together into a taxonomy for articles. Frankly, the wikipedia taxonomy looks to me to be about the worst of the ones listed here. Anyway, if you want an opinion, you may want to wait until something with a tighter interpretation of the rules comes along. Or just be bold, and we'll discuss it further if anyone thinks it needs to be deleted or talked about. --Aranae 17:40, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)
It's based only on the literature, but it's also very different from other classifications. I think I'm the first to use the order Ameridelphia, for example. Do you know that there's also a page List of placental mammals? Ucucha See Mammal Taxonomy 05:51, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'll first write it on User:Ucucha/MammClass. I'll copy it to here when it's ready. Ucucha See Mammal Taxonomy 06:39, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It's ready now, but I think I'll wait for some feedback. Ucucha See Mammal Taxonomy 07:13, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Moved chapter "molecular classification of mammals" in the beginning, since it is the only one with extensive list of english names. Melianis 08:49, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Whilst I understand your motivation for doing so I don't think that this was a good idea. Most readers will probably have followed the link from Mammal where the same content can be found in a summarised form. The two articles now have a different order. This can be a little confusing ... okay, only a little but why put up with a little confusion when it's not necessary? It would be best if the two articles had the same ordering so as to ease comprehension.
Which is the better ordering? The original ordering follows the chronological development of the field. The standard system was presented first with later modifications following. This is the logical ordering. This is the ordering we should return to. However, yes, it is a problem that the standard system section is lacking common names.
The solution, the optimal solution, in my opinion, would have been to have added them. However, I'll admit, this is no small task. So until someone is kind enough to add common names which is better: having the standard system first without the common names or having Molecular classification of mammals first and having the article in an illogical order? A tough choice but I sway on the side of the former.
Jimp 22 March 2006
I've made a start on it. Jimp 01:30, 24 March 2006 (UTC)


Where does Paleoparadoxia fit in?

Thanks, Scotty

Isn't it a desmostylian? Ucucha (talk) 15:26, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Luo et al. (2002)[edit]

I think among the biggest holes left on the page after Ucucha's removal of his taxonomy is that none currently posted here apply the proposals by Luo et al. (2002), which is really having a big impact on mammal classification - particularly pertaining to fossils. Unfortunately that paper (although long) doesn't go into a great deal of detail. I thought Ucucha's taxonomy applied that nicely. --Aranae 22:20, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia has rules like WP:NOR. I think my classification was a bit too much of original research (and I've found out it was simply wrong at some points). I understand your concern, but I don't know what could be done to it. Ucucha (talk) 06:37, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


I propose that this article be split in four: a new article for each classification scheme. Anything left over could be merged back into Mammal. My reasons are as follows.

  1. length (Presently the article is 48 kilobytes long.)
  2. ease of comprehension (We've got four long lists: easy to forget which one you're in.)
  3. potential for expansion (Divided these new articles might stand a better chance of being developed.)

Jimp 01:42, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I think the section in mammal is already a bit large and it would be counterproductive to move anything back there. What if we reduced that section to only include clades above order (except for the classification system used in related articles, which should retain the list of orders), reduce this page to order level taxa, above order level and incertae sedis taxa that can't be assigned to an order, and then move the lists that go to family to pages of their own? --Aranae 21:14, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Delisted Good Article[edit]

I delisted this article because it is not "well-written"; it has far too many bulleted lists. joturner 23:14, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Unlisted Classification[edit]

  • Monotremes
  • Marsupials (I thought they were combined)
  • Carnivores
  • Pennipeds (I thought they were separate from carnivores)
  • Perssodactyls
  • Artiodactyls
  • Primates
  • Rodents
  • Lagomrophs
  • Bats
  • Insectivores
  • Edentates/Xantherans
  • Cetaceans
  • Sirenians
  • Probiscidians
  • Pangolins
  • Aardvarks
  • Flying Lemurs
  • Hyraxes
  • Tree Shrews
  • Elephant Shrews

Also aren't mongooses in the civet family, red pandas in the raccoon family and skunks in the weasel family? Aren't humans and great apes in different families and lorises and bushbabies in the same family? Aren't monkeys split into four families: Old World, New World, marmosets and tamarins? 08:59, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

That's obsolete, very obsolete. The answer to all your questions is: no. Ucucha (talk) 12:17, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Hmm..?What do you know? That's how they classify in my reletively new mammal book! 06:27, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Textbooks are often very out of date. The division of the marsupials in five separate orders, for example, has taken place in the early nineties and has since been accepted in the scientific community, but still many books treat them as one order. Ucucha (talk) 13:26, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

I suppose there's no consensus then. 13:27, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

In this case, I think there is. I can think of no recent scientific source that does not recognize the seven (not five, my mistake, sorry) marsupial orders. In other cases (for example the Afrosoricida), however, there indeed seems to be no consensus. Ucucha (talk) 17:35, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. And I don't think there is much consensus about the order edentata (xenathera) being split, and skunks being split from the weasels either... 08:00, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Classification system used in related articles[edit]

The said "classification system used in related articles" is not used in other articles. Other articles use Euarchonta insead of Archonta, and most other articles don't use Ungulata. Many group elephant shrews with ardvarks. Others group pangolins with carnivores. anonymous 17:12, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

That's really mixed-up... Dora Nichov 04:19, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

When I started this page I just copied the information from Mammal. I had been trying to convince the comunity that the mammalian taxonomy used in wikipedia was basically nonsensical (Ucucha tried also), but had no luck. Right now taxonomy of mammals here in wikipedia ranges from cutting edge (e.g. Eupleridae), outdated (Artiodactyla and Cetacea as separate orders), to simply made up (Eutheria as a subclass?). There seems to be a slow updating of the articles, certainly since this page was created. What's used in wikipedia now still needs a lot of work but is certainly better than what was here when this article was started. Please feel free to make those improvements here. --Aranae 17:09, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Everything is SOOOOOOO confusing and controversal. I see a LOT of controversal classification. Here are some, just to name a few:

  • The "fossa family" (Eupleridae)
  • The "skunk family" (Mephitidae)
  • The "tenrec order" (Afriscorcidia)
  • The "armadillo order" (Cingulata)
  • The "anteater order" (forgot its name)

And many more... Those are VERY controversal and recent suggestions made by doubtful zoologists/mammalogists/scientists/etc. Plus they're using a different classification from the ones listed here. Isn't it funny that while mammals are the group we belong to, there's the most controversy about their classification? But that can be explained: BECAUSE they're the closest to us, more people study them and thus have MORE ideas/theories about their classification. In any case, we should use the most accepted classifiaction system available. Dora Nichov 07:56, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Need to make the confusion clear[edit]

This "talk" page contains extensive discussion about how to clear up the article, which I agree is confused. I suggest that the first step is for the article to admit at the beginning that the situation actually is confused:

  • There are at least 3 main approaches: Linnean, with corrections and extensions; fossil-based phylogeny; molecular phylogeny.
  • There are plenty of controversies within fossil-based phylogeny and molecular phylogeny, and the mere existence of 2 phylogenetic approaches is a controversy in its own right.

Hence I would also give up trying to produce a "standard Wikipedia classification":

  • It is bound to clash with other published classifications or partial classifications, some of which appear in textbooks, library books and reputable "popular science" magazines.
  • I don't see how it's practical to enforce a "standard Wikipedia classification" across Wikipedia, since some contributors will be adherents of other schemes and some articles cannot avoid being based on other schemes, for example the mammaliformes article is based on one particular scheme for classifying fossils which appear to be ancestral to or close to the ancestors of modern mammals.

So the article should also point out that, because there is no recognized standard classification, Wikipedia articles may take different approaches to classification of particular groups of mammals.

After that, I'd order the main sections as follows:

  • "Linnean" classification (extended and corrected). Should be first as it's the one on which most ordinary speech and popular writing are based.
  • Fossil-based phylogeny should come 2nd, as it's based on visible features (bones) and is the one most paleontologists prefer. Needs to explain the ideas behind a phylogenetic classification (probably linking to cladistics) and make clear where there are major controversies, different schools, etc.
  • Molecular phylogeny, with brief explanation and link to a main article on molecular phylogeny and with notes on points which are controversial either within molecular phylogeny or between molecular and fossil-based phylogeny.

Any phylogenetic trees presented should carry warnings, e.g. "this is our best attempt at a consensus view but many controversies are unresolved."

I would also remove most of the details from the mammal article, possibly retaining only a broad-brush "Linnean" classification with a comment that many scientists prefer other approaches and a link to "mmal classification".Philcha 14:53, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


This article is pretty confusing. It needs cleanup (talk) 11:07, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Small Conflict in Wikipedia Entries[edit]

This page currently (06/16/2010) lists hedgehogs and related species as belonging to Order Eulipotyphla, while at least a few other wikipedia pages list its' order as Erinaceomorpha (ex. Mammalia or Erinaceidae, note that Soricomorpha also disagrees with Eulipotyphla). Eulipotyphla redirects to Insectivora, which discusses a reclassification of Eulipotyphla into Erinaceomorpha and Soricomorpha. So I suspect that this page should be changed.

However... I do not think I'm qualified to correct whatever expert originally wrote this article. Could an expert weigh in? —Preceding unsigned comment added by SteelSoul (talkcontribs) 21:16, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

This is fairly complicated. Before the advent of molecular analysis, the order Insectivora, in most classifications, contained six living families—Tenrecidae (tenrecs), Chrysochloridae (golden moles), Solenodontidae (solenodons), Talpidae (moles and allies), Erinaceidae (hedgehogs and allies), and Soricidae (shrews). However, molecular data provide strong evidence that the tenrecs and golden moles are unrelated to the rest, so that they are now classified in their own order, Afrosoricida (or Tenrecomorpha), within Afrotheria. The rest of the order was renamed Eulipotyphla, a name introduced in 1999. (It is derived from Lipotyphla, which originally designated the six families listed above, as opposed to Menotyphla (Tupaiidae, tree shrews; and Macroscelididae, sengis), which were at one time also included in Insectivora.)
But some early molecular studies did not support the notion of Eulipotyphla as a natural group; instead, the hedgehogs were somewhat regularly recovered somewhere near the base of the placentals, and often far from the other Eulipotyphla. That led the reference work Mammal Species of the World (2005; abbreviated "MSW 3" as it was the third edition) to introduce separate orders Erinaceomorpha (for the hedgehogs) and Soricomorpha (for the shrews, moles, and solenodons). As it turned out, that decision was misguided, as more robust molecular studies since then have recovered all four Eulipotyphla families as a single group, at the base of Laurasiatheria. That has led many to unite Erinaceomorpha and Soricomorpha into a single order, usually called Eulipotyphla (though I believer there have been some calls for the use of Lipotyphla or even Insectivora for this group).
As you note, Wikipedia uses several classifications on different pages. In my view, the evidence that Erinaceomorpha and Soricomorpha of MSW 3 belong together is strong, and therefore the two should be united into a single order. I haven't reviewed the literature in enough detail to be sure, but I think recent papers which consider the matter also usually adopt this classification; therefore, Wikipedia also ought to use it. Ucucha 05:27, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Atlantogenta: contradiction[edit]

Under Molecular classification: "The Xenarthra … diverged from the Boreoeutheria …"

This seems to contradict the placement of Xenarthra alongside Afrotheria in Boreoeutheria's sister taxon (Atlantogenata). Or am I missing something? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johntobey (talkcontribs) 02:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I believe there is currently no consensus in molecular studies about which two of Afrotheria, Xenarthra, and Boreoeutheria are more closely related. Most likely, the three diverged nearly simultaneously. Ucucha 02:26, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I have changed the section so that it no longer mentions the proposed clade Atlantogenta, but rather the three well-supported groups.--Animalparty-- (talk) 22:45, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Linneaus did not think bats were birds[edit]

"Many earlier ideas have been completely abandoned by modern taxonomists, among these are the idea that bats are related to birds or that humans represent a completely distinct group."

I removed this sentence because its location seemed to tie it in to the previous sentence, as if Linneaus thought this. He was an early taxonomist who got rid of some old ideas, though. The removed sentence not only leads the reader to misinformation, it is not sourced. Someone reverted the removal and returned it to the article, saying the information is "valid and reasonable," but an encyclopedia should be sourced, not what individuals consider reasonable, particularly when it gives the mpression of supporting incorrect information. MicroPaLeo (talk) 08:07, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

I've restored and clarified, as well as added a note for a lack of citation. Note, though, that the rest of the lead has no citations, either. Should we remove that all? No. We don't remove it just because of that. We flag it and note it and go search for supporting sources or, when we find sources that show the information is incorrect, we adjust it as needed. The fact is, many pre-Linnaean taxonomists did relate birds and bats, and did put humans in a separate category. I don't think your read that the lead was saying that Linnaeus did was reasonable, but I've adjusted it to be clear that he did not. - UtherSRG (talk) 14:14, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I will also note that per style guidelines, the lead of an article generally should not have citations in it at all. The facts should be cited in the body of the article rather then the lead.--Kevmin § 17:14, 21 January 2015 (UTC)`
My read was reasonable, as Linneaus is a prominent early taxonomist and the sentence did not clarify that it was not speaking of Linneaus. Generally the information is cited elsewhere in the article, but this information did not appear elsewhere, and it should be elaborated and cited later on, but, as it is neither, it needs the citation attached where it is, in the lead. It probably should not be in the lead, if it is not developed elsewhere, but, in this case, the sentence should be fully developed later in the article. The current rewrite will work temporarily. MicroPaLeo (talk) 17:32, 21 January 2015 (UTC)