Phylogeny through brain traits: the mammalian family tree

Brain Behav Evol. 1983;22(2-3):70-4. doi: 10.1159/000121508.


Wagner trees based on the analysis of 15 brain characters scored on 154 specimens of 134 mammalian species show consistent patterns of relationship among the taxa, i.e. (1) monotremes are the primitive complement of the group uniting marsupials and placentals; (2) among marsupials, diprotodont Australian forms are more derived; (3) placental mammals divide into two groups of orders, roughly the ferungulates (carnivores, ungulates, and subungulates) and the unguiculates-plus-gliroids (chiropterans, dermopterans, lagomorphs, rodents, primates, and insectivores including elephant shrews); (4) edentates sit at the base of or just before the placental dichotomy; (5) the tree shrew and tarsier show the same pattern of distribution of brain traits as some rodents, as do prosimians and New World monkeys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Mammals / classification
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Marsupialia / classification
  • Pedigree*
  • Phylogeny*