Gregg F. Gunnell, Philip D. Gingerich and Patricia A. Holroyd

in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945425 | DOI:

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Ptolemaiidae is an enigmatic family of fossil mammals that has proven difficult to classify. Osborn (1908) proposed the family based on Ptolemaia lyonsi, represented by a single lower jaw from Oligocene deposits in the Fayum Depression, Egypt. Schlosser (1910, 1911) suggested that ptolemaiids might be best placed in the order Creodonta. Schlosser (1922) later moved Ptolemaia to the Pantolestidae. Butler (1969) noted that the deciduous teeth described by Schlosser (1911) as Ptolemaia (now Qarunavus) shared several features in common with Miocene elephant shrews (Macroscelidea). Simons and Bown (1995) erected a new mammalian order, Ptolemaiida, for the family Ptolemaiidae and stated that it may trace its ancestry to Pantolesta but was sufficiently distinct from any other group of mammals to warrant separate ordinal status. Recently, Nishihara et al. (2005) have suggested that ptolemaiids, given their possible relationships with macroscelideans and tubulidentates, may ultimately be included in Afrotheria. Ptolemaiida are known from Eocene and Oligocene deposits in Egypt and early Miocene localities in Kenya and Uganda. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Ptolemaiida.

Keywords: Ptolemaiida; paleontology; mammals; Ptolemaia lyonsi; ptolemaiids; Afrotheria; Eocene; Oligocene; Egypt; Pantolesta

Chapter.  3434 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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