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Temporal range: 20–0 Ma
Early Miocene to Recent[1]
Orycteropus afer stuffed.jpg
Orycteropus afer - Aardvark
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Afrotheria
(unranked): Afroinsectiphilia
Order: Tubulidentata
Family: Orycteropodidae


Orycteropodidae is a family of Afrotherian mammals. Although there are many fossil species, the only species surviving today is the aardvark, Orycteropus afer. Orycteropodidae is recognized as the only family within the order Tubulidentata, so the two are effectively synonyms.[1][2]

Representatives of the order Tubulidentata have been located from the Oligocene in what is now Europe, and it is believed that the order probably originated around 65–70 million years ago or in the Paleocene.[3][4] They are thought to be closely related to the now extinct Ptolemaiida, a lineage of carnivorous afrotheres.[5] [6] The family arose in Africa in the Early Miocene Epoch, and spread to Eurasia later in the Miocene. Most of the family's diversity had become extinct by the end of the Pliocene.[1]


Orycteropodidae skeleton

A few anatomical characters unite the Orycteropodidae and Tubulidentata.

  • the occipital region has extensive mastoid exposure
  • the teeth have a distinctive structure called tubulidentate microstructure
  • the femur has a pectineal tubercle
  • the diaphysis of the tibia is curved mediolaterally


This classification follows Lehmann 2009.[1]

  • affinis (resembling) Amphiorycteropus
    • aff. Amphiorycteropus pottieri (Ozansoy, 1965)
    • aff. Amphiorycteropus seni (Tekkaya, 1993)
  • Genus †Leptorycteropus Patterson, 1975
    • Leptorycteropus guilielmi Patterson, 1975 - type species
  • Genus † Myorycteropus MacInnes, 1956
    • Myorycteropus africanus MacInnes, 1956 - type species
  • affinis (resembling) Myorycteropus
    • aff. Myorycteropus chemeldoi (Pickford, 1975)
    • aff. Myorycteropus minutus (Pickford, 1975)



  • Lehmann, Thomas (2009). "Phylogeny and systematics of the Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 155: 649–702. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00460.x. 
  • Lehmann, Thomas; Vignaud, Patrick; Likius, Andossa; Brunet, Michel (2005). "A new species of Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) in the Mio-Pliocene of northern Chad". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 143 (1): 109–131. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2004.00143.x. 
  • Shoshani, Jeheskel (2002). "Tubulidentata". In Robertson, Sarah. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. 18: Svedberg, Theodor to Two-hybrid and Related Systems. London, UK: Nature Publishing Group. ISBN 1-56159-274-9. 

Further reading[edit]

  • MacInnes D. G. (1956). Fossil Tubulidentata from East Africa. British Museum (Natural History), London. Fossil mammals of Africa series; no. 10. 46 pp.