John Wenzel
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Phylogeny and Evolution of Locomotor Modes in Carnivoramorpha (Mammalia)

Michelle Spaulding, PhD
NSF Post-doctoral Fellow,
Sections of Mammals and Vertebrate Paleontology
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Earth Theater, First Floor Rear
Noon–1 p.m.

The mammalian order Carnivora has a rich fossil history, including stem taxa outside of crown Carnivora, which are included in the larger group Carnivoramorpha. These specimens extend the record of Carnivoramorpha to almost the start of the Cenozoic, almost twenty million years prior to the oldest known fossil crown carnivoran. In this talk, the most comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the Carnivoramorpha to date is presented, allowing for a reconstruction of the evolution of the clade in detail. A focus on the evolution of locomotor modes and ancestral locomotor conditions is used as a case study, due to the large amount of novel postcranial information present in the matrix.

Related Publication: Spaulding, M., J.J. Flynn, R.K. Stucky. A new basal carnivoramorphan (Mammalia) from the 'Bridger B' (Black's Fork member, Bridger Formation, Bridgerian NALMA, middle Eocene) of Wyoming, USA. Palaeontology 53(4):815-832.

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