Paleogene “Insectivores”

Erik R. Seiffert

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:
Paleogene “Insectivores”

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Paleogene Afro-Arabian placental mammals of “insectivoran” grade — simply known as Paleogene African “insectivores” — have thus far been placed either in endemic African genera (Chambilestes, Eochrysochloris, Garatherium, Jawharia, Todralestes, Widanelfarasia) or in genera that have also been documented in the fossil records of Europe (Aboletylestes, Afrodon) and North America (Cimolestes, Palaeoryctes). Whereas Paleogene insectivores from northern continents are increasingly known from well-preserved cranial remains, the African assemblage is comparatively very limited. These scanty records nevertheless bear directly (though not yet conclusively) on some central outstanding issues in early placental mammalian evolution, such as the time and place of origin of the enigmatic Afrosoricida (the afrotherian clade containing tenrecs [Tenrecoidea] and golden moles [Chrysochloridae]) and the nature of Afro-Arabia's biogeographic isolation through the Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic. Interpretation and classification of the Paleogene “insectivores” from Africa has become extremely problematic since the recognition of the endemic Afro-Arabian clade Afrotheria. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Paleogene “insectivores.”.

Keywords: Paleogene; insectivores; paleontology; placental mammals; evolution; Afrosoricida; Afrotheria; Cenozoic; Africa; Late Cretaceous

Chapter.  6596 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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