Record Details

Pitra, C.;Veits, J.
Use of mitochondrial DNA sequences to test the Ceratomorpha (Perissodactyla: Mammalia) hypothesis
Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Journal Article
Perissodactyla Ceratomorpha tapirs molecular taxonomy cytochrome b Tapir Bibliography
Wood (J. Mamm. 18, 106-118; 1937) united the superfamilies Tapiroidea sensu stricto and Rhinocerotoidea in the suborder Ceratomorpha and aligned the Ceratomorpha with the suborder Hippomorpha within the order Perissodactyla. Although the monophyly of the Ceratomorpha appears now well!supported in paleontological and morphological analyses, the molecular relationship among the three extant superfamilies Tapiroidea, Rhinocerotoidea, and Equoidea has not yet been examined due to the limited amount of molecular information on tapirs. In the present study, we examined the phylogenetic position of Tapiroidea, represented by the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1140 bp) of a lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) and a Indian tapir (Tapirus indicus) relative to modern horses, zebras, donkeys, and rhinoceroses. The phylogenetic analyses using standard parsimony, neighbour!joining and maximum likelihood algorithms revealed monophyly of the Perissodactyla and three clearly distinct lineages] the modern horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses. However, the sister!taxon relationship of the tapirs to either the rhinoceroses or the horses was not resolved conclusively in the bootstrap analysis. Spectral analysis, in which phylogenetic information is displayed independently of any selected tree, revealed that the DNA sequences available do not contain enough phylogenetic signal for any of the alternative hypotheses on the basal diversi-cation of perissodactyls. The short branch lengths among the three perissodactyl lineages suggest that they diverged within a relatively short period, a -nding consistent with molecular divergence datings and the fossil evidence that indicates a major radiation of the early perissodactyls approximately 43-49 million years ago.