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Mol Biol Evol. 1986 Sep;3(5):427-35.

Paenungulata: a comparison of the hemoglobin sequences from elephant, hyrax, and manatee.

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  • 1Abteilung Proteinchemie, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried bei München, West Germany.


Inspection of the amino acid differences among hemoglobin sequences of a wide range of mammalian species suggested that at alpha 19, alpha 110, alpha 111, beta 23, beta 44, and beta 56, synapomorphies group manatee (Trichechus inungius, Sirenia), Indian and African elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana, Proboscidea), and rock hyrax (Procavia habessinica, Hyracoidea) into a monophyletic clade. Results obtained by parsimony analysis provide evidence for this grouping--and thus support for the genealogical validity of Simpson's superorder Paenungulata, which contains as the extant orders Proboscidea, Sirenia, and Hyracoidea. All of the 39 most, or nearly most, parsimonious of 10,395 trees constructed from a tandemly combined alpha- and beta-hemoglobin sequence for 103 vertebrate species (of which 79 were mammals from 16 extant orders), depicted Paenungulata as one of the most anciently separated branches of Eutheria. It was found on examining thousands of alternative trees that to not group Proboscidea, Hyracoidea, and Sirenia in a monophyletic clade required at least four additional substitutions.

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