Get Laurasiatheria essential facts below. View Videos or join the Laurasiatheria discussion. Add Laurasiatheria to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
A clade of mammals comprising hedgehogs, artiodactyls, cetaceans, bats, perissodactyls, pangolins, and carnivores
Pholidota: pangolins ('scaly anteaters') (Africa, South Asia)
Carnivora: cats, dogs, bears, seals, and others (cosmopolitan)
Uncertainty still exists regarding the phylogenetic tree for extant laurasiatherians, primarily due to disagreement about the placement of Chiroptera and Perissodactyla. Based on morphological grounds, Chiroptera had long been classified in the superorder Archonta (e.g. along with treeshrews and the gliding colugos) until genetic research instead showed their kinship with the other laurasiatherians. The studies conflicted in terms of the exact placement of Chiroptera, however, with it being linked most closely to groups such as Eulipotyphla, Ferae or with Perissodactyla and Ferae in the Pegasoferae proposal. A recent study (Zhou et al., 2011) found that "trees reconstructed [...] for the 1,608-gene data set fully support [...] a basal position for Eulipotyphla and a more apical position for Chiroptera" (see cladogram below) and concluded that "Pegasoferae [...] does not appear to be a natural group." The most recent study (Nery et al., 2012) supports the conclusions of Zhou et al. using a large genomic dataset, placing Eulipotyphla as a basal order and Chiroptera as sister to Cetartiodactyla, with maximal support for all nodes of their phylogenetic tree. The exact position of Perissodactyla remains less certain, with some studies linking it with Ferae into a proposed clade Zooamata while others unite it with Cetartiodactyla into Euungulata, a clade of 'true ungulates'; Zhou et al. found better (but not full) support for the latter, while Nery et al. found Perissodactyla to be sister to Carnivora.
A 2013 study by Tsagkogeorga, et al. suggests that the carnivores, cetaceans, chiroptera, and ungulates form an ancient clade. This is supported by a study by Morgan, et al. (2013) that suggests that Eulipotyphla are the earliest diverging clade within the Laurasiatheria.
The cladogram has been reconstructed from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and protein characters.
Laurasiatheria is also posited to include several extinct orders and superorders. At least some of these are considered wastebasket taxa, historically lumping together several lineages based on superficial attributes and assumed relations to modern mammals. In some cases, these orders have turned out to either be paraphyletic assemblages, or to be composed of mammals now understood not to be laurasiatheres at all.
^Nery, M. F.; González, D. M. J.; Hoffmann, F. G.; Opazo, J. C. (2012). "Resolution of the laurasiatherian phylogeny: Evidence from genomic data". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 64 (3): 685-689. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.04.012. PMID22560954.
^Tsagkogeorga, G; Parker, J; Stupka, E; Cotton, J.A.; Rossiter, S.J. (2013). "Phylogenomic analyses elucidate the evolutionary relationships of bats". Current Biology. 23 (22): 2262-2267. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.014. PMID24184098.
Goloboff, Pablo A.; Catalano, Santiago A.; Mirande, J. Marcos; Szumik, Claudia A.; Arias, J. Salvador; Källersjö, Mari; Farris, James S. (2009). "Phylogenetic analysis of 73 060 taxa corroborates major eukaryotic groups". Cladistics. 25 (3): 211-230. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2009.00255.x.
Murphy, William J.; Eizirik, Eduardo; O'Brien, Stephen J.; Madsen, Ole; Scally, Mark; Douady, Christophe J.; Teeling, Emma; Ryder, Oliver A.; Stanhope, Michael J.; de Jong, Wilfried W.; Springer, Mark S. (2001). "Resolution of the Early Placental Mammal Radiation Using Bayesian Phylogenetics". Science. 294 (5550): 2348-2351. doi:10.1126/science.1067179. PMID11743200.