The Evolution of Suidae

Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2016;4:61-85. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-021815-111155. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


The Suidae are a family of Cetartiodactyla composed of 17 species classified in a minimum of five extant genera that originated at least 20 million years ago. Their success is evident in the multitude of habitats in which they are found as both natural and feral populations in tropical Island Southeast Asia, the high plateau of the Himalayas, Siberia, North Africa, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and the Americas. Morphological and molecular analyses of these species have revealed numerous aspects of their biology, including the ease with which many lineages have and continue to hybridize. This trait has made them an ideal model for evolutionary biologists. Suid species have also shared a deep history with humans, from their association with early hominids in Africa to their domestication. Here we review the current knowledge of this fascinating group and provide a comprehensive evolutionary history from the Oligocene to the present day.

Keywords: domestication; hybridization; phylogeography; pigs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Northern
  • Animals
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Australia
  • Biological Evolution
  • Fossils
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Pacific Islands
  • Siberia
  • Swine / anatomy & histology
  • Swine / genetics*
  • Swine / physiology