Project 419: F. J. Prevosti. 2010. Phylogeny of the large extinct South American Canids (Mammalia, Carnivora, Canidae) using a ‘‘total evidence’’ approach. Cladistics. 26 (5):456-481.
Specimen: Theriodictis platensis (MPS/2)
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South America currently possesses a high diversity of canids, comprising mainly small to medium-sized omnivorous species, but in the Pleistocene there were large hypercarnivorous taxa that were assigned to Protocyon spp., Theriodictis spp., Canis gezi, Canis nehringi and Canis dirus. These fossils have never been included in phylogenies based on quantitative cladistics, but handconstructed cladograms published in the 1980s included some of them in the South American canine clade and others in the Canis clade. In this work, the phylogenetic position of the large extinct South American canids was studied using a large sample of living and extinct canids, as well as different sources of characters (e.g. DNA and 133 osteological characters). The phylogenetic analysis corroborates the inclusion of Theriodictis and Protocyon in the ‘‘South American clade’’, where C. gezi is also included. In addition, the position of C. dirus as a highly derived Canis species is confirmed. The simultaneous analysis supports hypercarnivory having arisen at least three times in Caninae and once in the ‘‘South American clade’’. The combination of the phylogenetic analyses, the fossil record and divergence dates estimated in previous works suggests that at least three or four independent lineages of the ‘‘South American clade’’ invaded South America after the establishment of the Panama bridge around 3 million years ago, plus other events corresponding to the immigration of Urocyon and Canis dirus.

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Project DOI: 10.7934/P419,
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    MorphoBank Curator
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    Last logged in 03/13/12
    Maureen Admin
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    Last logged in 05/23/11
    Pancho Prevosti
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