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About fifteen species of Caribbean eulipotyphlans are known to have existed during the Quaternary, but not all Nesophontes species are universally accepted as valid. However, most of these, including all Nesophontes, are now extinct, and the two surviving solenodons are classified as "endangered".
The interrelationships of the two Caribbean genera remain unclear. Similarities in skull morphology have led some to propose close affinities between the two, but differences in characters of the teeth are evidence against a close relationship. DNA evidence suggests that Solenodon is sister to a clade of shrews, moles, and erinaceids, with a molecular clock providing evidence that the split from the other families occurred in the Cretaceous period, late in the Mesozoic era. How they came to the Antilles is unknown; they may have arrived either via overwater dispersal or via some sort of land bridge from North America, South America, or even Africa, and Nesophontes and Solenodon may have different origins.
The genera of Caribbean eulipotyphlans are classified as follows:
Two extinct undescribed species of Nesophontes are known from several cave deposits on the Cayman Islands, a British archipelago south of Cuba. The two are similar in morphology, but the species from Grand Cayman is larger than the one from Cayman Brac. They are closely related to each other and to the Cuban-Hispaniolan species N. micrus. The oldest record is from the latest Pleistocene, but they probably arrived there earlier in the Pleistocene, if not in the Pliocene. In the youngest layers of several deposits, Nesophontes is found together with introduced Rattus, indicating that its extinction occurred relatively recently.
Solenodon marcanoi is known from late Quaternary fossil deposits in southern Haiti and the southwestern Dominican Republic.
Solenodon paradoxus, one of the two living solenodons, is known both as a living animal and from fossil deposits throughout much of the island, except for northern Haiti. Separate subspecies occur in the northern (S. p. paradoxus) and southern highlands (S. p. woodi).
Some chest vertebrae and associated ribs of a mammal, probably a solenodontid, have been found in amber in the Dominican Republic. These are probably not older than the late Oligocene. The animal would have been about the size of Nesophontes, with an estimated body mass of 150 grams (5.3 oz).
Gonâve is an island off western Hispaniola, part of Haiti.