Ferae

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Ferae
Temporal range: 78.9–0 Ma[1] Late Cretaceous to present
Ferae.png
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Clade: Ferungulata
Clade: Ferae
Linnaeus, 1758[2]
Subgroups
see classification
Synonyms
list of synonyms:
  • Carnaria (Haeckel, 1866)
  • Carnassia (Haeckel, 1895)
  • Carnivora (Zagorodniuk, 2008)[3]
  • Carnivoramorpha (Kalandadze & Rautian, 1992)
  • Ferina (Newman, 1843)
  • Ostentoria (Amrine-Madsen, 2003)[4]
  • Rapacia (Newman, 1843)
  • Sarcotheria (Haeckel, 1895)

Ferae [/ˈfɪər/ FEER-ee, Latin: [ˈfɛrae̯]] ("wild beasts") is a clade of mammals, consisting of the orders Carnivora (wolves, cats, seals, and so on; over 260 species around the globe) and Pholidota (eight species of pangolins in tropical Africa and Asia). An alternate name, Ostentoria, has also been proposed for a grouping of the Carnivora and Pholidota.[4] The last common ancestor of extant Ferae is supposed to have diversified ca. 78.9 million years ago.[1] Several extinct orders such as creodonts[5] are members of Ferae as well.

Classification and phylogeny[edit]

Traditional classification[edit]

Revised classification[edit]

Phylogeny of extant taxa[edit]

Position of pangolins[edit]

Pangolins were long thought to be the closest relatives of Xenarthra (armadillos, anteaters, and sloths), forming to the polyphyletic group Edentata. Research based on immunodiffusion technique[11] and comparison of protein and DNA sequences[12][13][14] revealed the close relationships between pangolins and carnivorans. Living pangolins and carnivorans also share few unusual derived morphological and anatomical traits, such as the ossified tentorium cerebelli and the fusion of the scaphoid and lunate bones in the wrist.[15]

Sister groups to Ferae[edit]

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).[16][17] An alternate phylogeny (less supported) holds that the closest relatives to the Ferae are the Perissodactyla and Chiroptera (bats), not Cetartiodactyla.[18] Ferae together with Perissodactyla has been called Zooamata. Ferae, Perissodactyla, and Chiroptera together has been called Pegasoferae.

Phylogenetic position of the Ferae in the context of the order-level cladogram of Boreoeutheria
(only living groups)
 Boreoeutheria 

 Euarchontoglires
 (primates, colugos, treeshrews, rodents, rabbits)  Lepus timidus - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica -(white background).jpg

 Laurasiatheria 

 Eulipotyphla
 (hedgehogs, shrews, moles, solenodons)  Erinaceus europaeus - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

 Scrotifera 

 Chiroptera
 (bats and flying foxes)  Flying fox at botanical gardens in Sydney (cropped and flipped).jpg

 Ferungulata 
 Ferae 

 Pholidota
 (pangolins)  Pangolin Hardwicke (white background).jpg

 Carnivora
 (cats, hyenas, dogs, bears, seals, etc.)  Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

 Euungulata 

 Perissodactyla
  (horses, tapirs, rhinos, etc.) Equus quagga (white background).jpg

 Cetartiodactyla
 (camels, pigs, ruminants, hippos, whales, etc.)  The deer of all lands (1898) Hangul white background.png

The cladogram has been reconstructed from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and protein characters.

Fossil members[edit]

Position of Creodonta[edit]

While there has been strong support in the inclusion of creodonts into Ferae, they were usually recovered as sister taxon to Carnivoramorpha (carnivorans and their stem-relatives).[19] The Halliday et al. (2015) phylogenetic analysis of hundreds of morphological characters of Paleocene placentals found instead that creodonts might be the sister group to Pholidotamorpha (pangolins and their stem-relatives).[5] However, recent studies have show Creodonta is polyphyletic clade and sister taxon to Carnivoramorpha, split in two groups: order Oxyaenodonta on one side and order Hyaenodonta plus stem-relatives (Altacreodus and Tinerhodon) on the other.[20][8][9][10][21]

Phylogenetic position of "Creodonta" within Ferae.[20][8][9][10][21]
 Ferungulata 

Pan-Euungulata Equus quagga (white background).jpg

 Ferae 
 Pholidotamorpha 

Pholidota (sensu stricto) Pangolin Hardwicke (white background).jpg

Palaeanodonta Metacheiromys DB152-2.jpg

 (Pholidota sensu lato) 
 Pan-Carnivora 
"Creodonta"
 †Oxyaenodonta 

Oxyaenidae Patriofelis ferox by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).png

 †Hyaenodonta 

Altacreodus

Tinerhodon

Altacreodus/Tinerhodon clade

Hyaenodonta (sensu stricto) Hyaenodon horridus by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).jpg

 sensu lato 

Carnivoramorpha (Carnivora sensu lato) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

Alternative classification and possible members[edit]

In Halliday et al. (2015) various enigmatic Palaeocene mammals have been proposed to be possible members to Ferae, like members of suboders Pantodonta and Taeniodonta, and families Didelphodontidae, Nyctitheriidae, Oxyclaenidae, Palaeoryctidae, Pantolestidae, Pentacodontidae, Periptychidae, Triisodontidae and Wyolestidae.[5] In addition various "hoofed mammals" like the mesonychians and arctocyonids (usually considered as a stem-artiodactyls[22]) also placed in this group. In addition, Mesonychians are placed as the sister group to carnivoramorphs, while arctocyonids are polyphyletic with Arctocyon and Loxolophus sister to pantodonts and periptychids, Goniacodon and Eoconodon sister to the Carnivoramorpha-Mesonychia clade, most other genera allied with creodonts and palaeoryctidans.[5] This enlarged Ferae was also found to be the sister group to Chiroptera,[5] even though recent studies despute this classification.[23][24]

Below is a phylogeny of the interrelationships within Ferae among the various extant and fossil groups after Halliday et al. (2015):[5]

 ... 

Chiroptera Flying fox at botanical gardens in Sydney (cropped and flipped).jpg

 Ferae 

Carnivoramorpha Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

Mesonychia

 †Triisodontidae 

Goniacodon

Eoconodon

Pentacodontidae

Periptychidae

Pantodonta Barylambda NT small.jpg

 †Arctocyonidae 

Arctocyon

Loxolophus

Taeniodonta

Escavadodontidae

Wyolestidae

Nyctitheriidae

Pantolestidae

 Pholidotamorpha 

Palaeanodonta Metacheiromys DB152-2.jpg

Pholidota Pangolin Hardwicke (white background).jpg

 †Oxyclaenidae 

Chriacus

Thryptacodon

Claenodon

Anacodon

Oxyclaenus

Palaeoryctidae

Didelphodus

Acmeodon

Gelastops

 †Creodonta 

Oxyaenidae Patriofelis ferox by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).png

Hyaenodonta Hyaenodon horridus by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).jpg

References[edit]

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