Southern tamandua Tamandua tetradactyla, photographed by Milan Kořínek.

Belongs within: Placentalia.
Contains: Dasypodidae, Folivora.

Xenarthra is the order of mammals containing the anteaters, sloths and armadillos, and is primarily found in South America. The name refers to the distinctive vertebrae of members of the clade. In older references this group was commonly referred to the Edentata, meaning 'toothless', but only the anteaters (Myrmecophagidae) are truly toothless; the sloths and armadillos retain enamelless back teeth. The armadillos and their extinct relatives in the Cingulata are characterised by dorsal armour formed from osteoderms covered in keratinous scales, that may be variously fused to form plates.

Characters (from Nowak 1999): Incisors and canines absent; premolars and molars, if present, enamelless, open-rooted, usually uniform. Six to nine neck vertebrae present. Clavicles usually present (absent in glyptodonts). Pelvis narrow and elongate; secondary and sometimes further articulations present between lumbar vertebrae; ischial articulations with spinal column present. Common genital and urinary duct in females; testes located in abdominal cavity between rectum and urinary bladder. Hand with two to five digits, of which two or three are usually much larger than the others (if present), all fingers having long, strong, sharp claws; foot usually with five digits. Double posterior vena cava present.

    |  i. s.: Eutatus seguinii C77
    |         Proeutatus Ameghino 1891 BAA04
    |         Utaetus Ameghino 1902 BAA04
    |         Propaopus Ameghino 1881 BAA04
    |--Cingulata DSD03
    |    |  i. s.: Holmesina septentrionalis M94
    |    |         Stegotherium Ameghino 1887 M94, BAA04 [Stegotheriidae]
    |    |           |--S. simplex D07
    |    |           |--S. tessellatum M94
    |    |           `--S. variegatum D07
    |    |--Dasypodoidea BAA04
    |    |    |--Dasypodidae BAA04
    |    |    `--Peltephilus Ameghino 1887 [Peltephilidae] BAA04
    |    |         `--P. ferox D07
    |    `--Glyptodontidae [Glyptodontoidea] BAA04
    |         |--Hoplophorus BAA04
    |         |--Propaleohoplophorus Ameghino 1891 BAA04
    |         |--Glyptodon Owen 1839 D07
    |         |    `--G. clavipes D07
    |         `--Doedicrurus Owen 1847 D07
    |              |--D. clavicaudatus D07
    |              `--D. patagonicus D07
    `--Pilosa DSD03
         |--+--Folivora DSD03
         |  `--Pseudoglyptodon chilensis MJ11
         `--Myrmecophagidae [Vermilingua] DSD03
              |  i. s.: Protamandua rothi OB13
              |--Cyclopes Gray 1821 DSD03, C57 (see below for synonymy)
              |    `--*C. didactylus (Linnaeus 1758) (see below for synonymy) C57
              |         |--C. d. didactylus [incl. Myrmecophaga unicolor Geoffroy in Desmarest 1804] C57
              |         |--C. d. catellus Thomas 1928 C57
              |         |--C. d. dorsalis (Gray 1865) [=Cyclothurus dorsalis] C57
              |         |--C. d. eva Thomas 1902 C57
              |         |--C. d. ida Thomas 1900 [incl. C. didactylus codajazensis Lönnberg 1942] C57
              |         |--C. d. juruanus Lönnberg 1942 C57
              |         |--C. d. melini Lönnberg 1928 C57
              |         `--C. d. mexicanus G69
              `--Myrmecophaginae DC01
                   |--Myrmecophaga Linnaeus 1758 BAA04 [incl. Falcifer Rehn 1900 C57]
                   |    `--*M. tridactyla Linnaeus 1758 [incl. M. jubata Linné 1766, M. iubata] C57
                   |         |--M. t. tridactyla C57
                   |         `--M. t. artata Osgood 1912 [=M. t. artatus] C57
                   `--Tamandua Gray 1825 DSD03, C57 (see below for synonymy)
                        |--*T. tetradactyla (Linnaeus 1758) [=Myrmecophaga tetradactyla] C57
                        |    |--T. t. tetradactyla (see below for synonymy) C57
                        |    |--T. t. chapadensis Allen 1904 (see below for synonymy) C57
                        |    |--T. t. chiriquensis Allen 1904 (see below for synonymy) C57
                        |    |--T. t. instabilis Allen 1904 C57
                        |    |--T. t. punensis Allen 1916 C57
                        |    `--T. t. quicha Thomas 1927 C57
                        |--T. longicaudata (Wagner 1844) [=Myrmecophaga longicaudata] C57
                        |    |--T. l. longicaudata [=T. tetradactyla longicaudata] C57
                        |    `--T. l. mexianae Hagmann 1908 C57
                        `--T. mexicana WR07 [=T. tetradactyla mexicana G69]

Cyclopes Gray 1821 DSD03, C57 [incl. Cyclothurus Lesson 1842 C57, Myrmidon Wagley 1830 C57; Cyclopedidae]

*Cyclopes didactylus (Linnaeus 1758) [=Myrmecophaga didactyla, Cyclothurus didactyla, Myrmidon didactylus] C57

Tamandua Gray 1825 DSD03, C57 [=Tamanduus Cuvier 1829 C57; incl. Dryorix Gloger 1841 C57, Uroleptes Wagner 1830 C57, Uroleptess Alston 1882 C57]

Tamandua tetradactyla chapadensis Allen 1904 [incl. T. tetradactyla kriegi Krumbiegel 1940, Myrmecophaga bivittata straminea Cope 1889 (n. d.)] C57

Tamandua tetradactyla chiriquensis Allen 1904 [=T. t. chiriquinus (l. c.); incl. T. t. tambensis Lönnberg 1937] C57

*Tamandua tetradactyla tetradactyla (Linnaeus 1758) [incl. Myrmecophaga bivittata Geoffroy in Desmarest 1804, Tamandua bivittata, M. crispa Rüppell 1845, M. myosura Pallas 1776, M. nigra Geoffroy in Desmarest 1804, Tamandua bivittata var. opistholeuca Gray 1873, T. bivittata var. opithomelas Gray 1873, M. tamandua Cuvier 1817, M. ursina Rapp 1852] C57

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BAA04] Bergqvist, L. P., E. A. L. Abrantes & L. dos S. Avilla. 2004. The Xenarthra (Mammalia) of São José de Itaboraí Basin (upper Paleocene, Itaboraian), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Geodiversitas 26 (2): 323–337.

[C57] Cabrera, A. 1957. Catalogo de los mamiferos de America del Sur. I (Metatheria—Unguiculata—Carnivora). Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” e Instituto Nacional de Investigacion de Las Ciencias Naturales, Ciencias Zoológicas 4 (1): 1–307.

[C77] Cope, E. D. 1877. Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties of the expedition of 1874. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian 4 (2): i–iv, 1–370.

[DC01] Delsuc, F., F. M. Catzeflis, M. J. Stanhope & E. J. P. Douzery. 2001. The evolution of armadillos, anteaters and sloths depicted by nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies: implications for the status of the enigmatic fossil Eurotamandua. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 268: 1605–1615.

[DSD03] Delsuc, F., M. J. Stanhope & E. J. P. Douzery. 2003. Molecular systematics of armadillos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae): contribution of maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28: 261–275.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[G69] Goodwin, G. G. 1969. Mammals from the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, in the American Museum of Natural History. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 141 (1): 1–269, 40 pls.

[M94] MacPhee, R. D. E. 1994. Morphology, adaptations, and relationships of Plesiorycteropus, and a diagnosis of a new order of eutherian mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 220: 1–214.

[MJ11] Meredith, R. W., J. E. Janečka, J. Gatesy, O. A. Ryder, C. A. Fisher, E. C. Teeling, A. Goodbla, E. Eizirik, T. L. L. Simão, T. Stadler, D. L. Rabosky, R. L. Honeycutt, J. J. Flynn, C. M. Ingram, C. Steiner, T. L. Williams, T. J. Robinson, A. Burk-Herrick, M. Westerman, N. A. Ayoub, M. S. Springer & W. J. Murphy. 2011. Impacts of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification. Science 334: 521–524.

Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World vol. 2. JHU Press.

[OB13] O'Leary, M. A., J. I. Bloch, J. J. Flynn, T. J. Gaudin, A. Giallombardo, N. P. Giannini, S. L. Goldberg, B. P. Kraatz, Z.-X. Luo, J. Meng, X. Ni, M. J. Novacek, F. A. Perini, Z. S. Randall, G. W. Rougier, E. J. Sargis, M. T. Silcox, N. B. Simmons, M. Spaulding, P. M. Velazco, M. Weksler, J. R. Wible & A. L. Cirranello. 2013. The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K–Pg radiation of placentals. Science 339: 662–667.

[WR07] Wible, J. R., G. W. Rougier, M. J. Novacek & R. J. Asher. 2007. Cretaceous eutherians and Laurasian origin for placental mammals near the K/T boundary. Nature 447: 1003–1006.

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