Chapter

Pholidota

Timothy J. Gaudin

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257214.003.0031
Pholidota

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The family Manidae includes all the living pangolins, or scaly anteaters. Pangolins are a small group, encompassing eight extant species that are distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, southern China, Southeast Asia, and the East Indies eastward to the Philippines. Four of these species presently occur in Africa: Smutsia gigantea, the giant pangolin; S. temmincki, the ground pangolin; Phataginus tetradactyla, the long-tailed pangolin; and P. tricuspis, the tree pangolin. All are found in the forests of western and central Africa except S. temmincki, which occurs in drier and more open habitats in eastern and southern Africa. The family Manidae is placed in the order Pholidota. Pholidota also includes at least two extinct families of pangolins, the Patriomanidae and Eomanidae. Additionally, several authors have advocated close ties between pangolins and an extinct group of mostly North American fossorial mammals with reduced dentitions, the palaeanodonts. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Pholidota.

Keywords: Africa; paleontology; Pholidota; Manidae; pangolins; Smutsia gigantea; Phataginus tetradactyla; Patriomanidae; Eomanidae; palaeanodonts

Chapter.  3400 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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