Pecora Incertae Sedis

Susanne M. Cote

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:
Pecora Incertae Sedis

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The Ruminantia is commonly divided into two infraorders: the Tragulina and the Pecora. Pecoran monophyly is well accepted with five modern families: the Giraffidae, Bovidae, Moschidae (musk deer in Asia), Antilocapridae (pronghorns of North America), and Cervidae (deer). These are commonly placed in three superfamilies: Bovoidea, Cervoidea, and Giraffoidea. Of modern pecorans, only the Bovidae and Giraffidae are widespread in Africa (cervids dispersed into North Africa in the early late Pleistocene. In the African Miocene, there are several named taxa of pecoran ruminants that are not easily assigned to the modern families or superfamilies. Morphological analyses have often suggested a close relationship between the Bovidae and Giraffidae, and the position of the Moschidae has been particularly controversial. There is a growing consensus from molecular data and new “supertree” analyses that Bovidae and Cervidae together are the sister group of the Giraffidae. In addition to the living families of ruminants, there are numerous names given to extinct alleged families of both the infraorders Tragulina and Pecora, largely from Eurasia. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Pecora incertae sedis.

Keywords: Africa; paleontology; Pecora; Ruminantia; Tragulina; deer; Bovoidea; Cervoidea; Giraffoidea; ruminants

Chapter.  8649 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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