Temporal range: Early-Late Oligocene
|Desmostylus, Royal Ontario Museum|
Desmostylidae is an extinct family of herbivorous marine mammals belonging to the order of Desmostylia. They lived along the coast of the northern Pacific Ocean from the Early Oligocene (Rupelian) through the Late Oligocene (Chattian) (33.9 mya—23.0 Mya) existing for approximately .
Taxonomy and systematics
Desmostylidae was named by Osborn 1905. It was assigned to Sirenia by Osborn (1905); to Proboscidea by Abel (1919); to Desmostyliformes by Simpson (1932), Kretzoi (1941) and Reinhart (1959); to Desmostylia by McKenna and Bell (1997); and to Desmostylia by Carroll (1988), Inuzuka et al. (1995), Inuzuka (2000) and Barnes and Goedert (2001).
Cockburn & Beatty 2009 found an subadult specimen of Behemotops proteus on Vancouver Island in 2007. They noted that (1) the cranial features of their specimen were similar to those of Cornwallius and that (2) the adult dentition was not delayed in their specimen, unlike in Desmostylus and other Afrotheria, and they concluded that (1) Desmostylidae and Paleoparadoxiidae probably diverged earlier than previously believed and that (2) delayed dentition can not be the most primitive state of Desmostylia.
- Cockburn, Thomas; Beatty, Brian (2009). "A Partial Skeleton of Behemotops (Desmostylia, Mammalia) from Vancouver Island, British Columbia" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29 (3, Supplement). Retrieved June 2013.
- McKenna, Malcolm C.; Bell, Susan K. (1997). Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231110138. OCLC 37345734.
- Osborn, H. F. (1905). "Ten years progress in the mammalian Palaeontology of North America". Extrait des Comptes rendus du 6e Congres international de Zoologie. Session de Berne 1904: 86–113. OCLC 18502464.
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