Afrotheria

Aardvark Orycteropus afer, photographed by Beverly Joubert.


Belongs within: Placentalia.
Contains: Sirenia, Hyracoidea, Proboscidea, Afrosoricida, Macroscelididae.

The Afrotheria is a clade of mammals united by molecular analyses, though morphological support for the clade remains elusive. Most phylogenies support division of the afrotherians between the insectivorous taxa—Afrosoricida (golden moles and tenrecs), Macroscelididae (elephant shrews) and Orycteropus afer (aardvark)—and the herbivorous Paenungulata. The Paenungulata contains the living orders Hyracoidea, Proboscidea and Sirenia, as well as the fossil Desmostylia and (possibly) Embrithopoda. Two of the orders, Sirenia and Desmostylia, are primarily aquatic (entirely so in the case of sirenians except for the basalmost fossil members).

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