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Family-level relationships among the Australasian marsupial “herbivores” (Diprotodontia: Koala, wombats, kangaroos and possums)

Phillips, Matthew J. & Pratt, Renae C. (2008) Family-level relationships among the Australasian marsupial “herbivores” (Diprotodontia: Koala, wombats, kangaroos and possums). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46(2), pp. 594-605.

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Abstract

The marsupial order Diprotodontia includes 10 extant families, which occupy all terrestrial habitats across Australia and New Guinea and have evolved remarkable dietary and locomotory diversity. Despite considerable attention, the interrelations of these families have for the most part remained elusive. In this study, we separately model mitochondrial RNA and protein-coding sequences in addition to nuclear protein-coding sequences to provide near-complete resolution of diprotodontian family-level phylogeny. We show that alternative topologies inferred in some previous studies are likely to be artifactual, resulting from branch-length and compositional biases. Subordinal groupings resolved herein include Vombatiformes (wombats and koala) and Phalangerida, which in turn comprises Petauroidea (petaurid gliders and striped, feathertail, ringtail and honey possums) and a clade whose plesiomorphic members possess blade-like premolars (phalangerid possums, kangaroos and their allies and most likely, pygmy possums). The topology resolved reveals ecological niche structuring among diprotodontians that has likely been maintained for more than 40 million years.

Impact and interest:

17 citations in Scopus
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16 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 50535
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Marsupial, Diprotodontia, Phalangerida, Molecular phylogeny, Long-term ecological niche differentiation
DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.09.008
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 24 May 2012 14:59
Last Modified: 24 May 2012 14:59

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