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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous - Recent
Clockwise from the upper left: giraffe, golden crown fruit bat, lion, hedgehog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Theria
Infraclass: Eutheria
Magnorder: Boreoeutheria
Superorder: Laurasiatheria
Waddell et al., 1999[1]

Laurasiatheria is the scientific name of a large group of placental mammals believed to have originated on the northern supercontinent of Laurasia. It includes shrews, hedgehogs, pangolins, bats, whales, most hoofed mammals, and carnivorans, among others.

Classification and phylogeny[edit]

Laurasiatheria was discovered on the basis of the similar gene sequences shared by the mammals belonging to it; no anatomical features have yet been found that unite the group. Laurasiatheria is a clade usually discussed without a Linnaean rank, but has been assigned the rank of cohort or magnorder, and superorder. The Laurasiatheria clade is based on DNA sequence analyses and retrotransposon presence/absence data. The name comes from the theory that these mammals evolved on the supercontinent of Laurasia, after it split from Gondwana when Pangaea broke up. It is a sister group to Euarchontoglires (or Supraprimates) with which it forms the clade Boreoeutheria. Laurasiatheria includes the following extant taxa:

Uncertainty still exists regarding the phylogenetic tree for extant laurasiatherians, primarily due to disagreement about the placement of Chiroptera and Perissodactyla. Based on morphological grounds, Chiroptera had long been classified in the superorder Archonta (e.g. along with treeshrews and the gliding colugos) until genetic research instead showed their kinship with the other laurasiatherians.[3] The studies conflicted in terms of the exact placement of Chiroptera, however, with it being linked most closely to groups such as Eulipotyphla,[4] Ferae[5] or with Perissodactyla and Ferae in the Pegasoferae proposal.[6] A recent study (Zhou et al., 2011[7]) found that "trees reconstructed [...] for the 1,608-gene data set fully support [...] a basal position for Eulipotyphla and a more apical position for Chiroptera" (see cladogram below) and concluded that "Pegasoferae [...] does [sic] not appear to be a natural group." The most recent study (Nery et al., 2012[8]) supports the conclusions of Zhou et al. using a large genomic dataset, placing Eulipotyphla as a basal order and Chiroptera as sister to Cetartiodactyla, with maximal support for all nodes of their phylogenetic tree. The exact position of Perissodactyla remains less certain, with some studies linking it with Ferae into a proposed clade Zooamata while others unite it with Cetartiodactyla into Euungulata, a clade of 'true ungulates'; Zhou et al. found better (but not full) support for the latter, while Nery et al. found Perissodactyla to be sister to Carnivora.

Template:Laurasiatheria Cladogram

Laurasiatheria is also posited to include several extinct orders and superorders:


  1. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1093/sysbio/48.1.1
  2. ^ Nikaido, M., Rooney, A. P. & Okada, N. (1999). "Phylogenetic relationships among cetartiodactyls based on insertions of short and long interpersed elements: Hippopotamuses are the closest extant relatives of whales". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 96 (18): 10261–10266. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.18.10261. PMC 17876. PMID 10468596. Retrieved 3 October 2011.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1007/PL00006430
  4. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1016/S0378-1119(00)00427-3
  5. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.10.002
  6. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1073/pnas.0603797103
  7. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1093/sysbio/syr089
  8. ^ Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1016/j.ympev.2012.04.012

Further reading[edit]

  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1101/gr.090647.108
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1111/j.1096-0031.2009.00255.x
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000384
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040091
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1126/science.1067179
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030002
  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1073/pnas.0334222100
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  • Error: Bad DOI specified: 10.1073/pnas.0511344103

External links[edit]