Simons and Tattersall, 1972
Cladistically included but traditionally excluded
Plesiadapiformes ("Adapid-like" or "near Adapiformes") is an order of mammals (possibly paraphyletic or polyphyletic). The group is either closely related to the primates or a precursor to them. Many are too derived to be ancestral to primates, but the earliest Plesiadapiformes had teeth that are strongly indicative of a common ancestor. Purgatorius is believed to be a basal Plesiadapiformes.
Plesiadapiformes first appear in the fossil record between 65 and 55 million years ago, although many were extinct by the beginning of the Eocene. They may have been the first mammals to have finger nails in place of claws.
In the following simplified cladogram, the crown primates are found to be deep in the Plesiadapiformes tree, possibly as sister of the Carpolestidae. The crown primates are cladistically granted here into the Plesiadapiformes, and the 'plesiadapiformes' become a junior synonym of the primates. With this tree, the plesiadapiformes are not literally extinct (in the sense of having no surviving descendants). The crown primates are also called "Euprimates" in this context.
One possible classification table of plesiadapiform families is listed below.
- ORDER PLESIADAPIFORMES
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- Paleontologists discover most primitive primate skeleton - PhysOrg.com
- ""Sleep, First Primates, Earthquakes in the Midwest and Profile: Sang-Mook Lee"". NOVA scienceNOW. Season 4. Episode 8. Transcripts – NOVA scienceNOW: July 9, 2008. 9 July 2008. 13:04 minutes in. PBS.