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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1998 Jun;9(3):414-26.

Phylogeny of the Carnivora (Mammalia): congruence vs incompatibility among multiple data sets.

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Department of Geology, The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois, 60605, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the higher-level phylogenetic relationships among Carnivora, using a conditional data combination (CDC) approach to analyzing multiple data sets. New nucleotide sequences (851 base pairs from intron I of the transthyretin gene) among 22 representatives of the 11 families of Carnivora were generated and analyzed in concert with, and comparison to, other mitochondrial and morphological character data. Conditional data combination analyses of the four independent data sets (transthyretin intron I, cytochrome b, partial 12S rRNA, and morphology) indicate that the phylogenetic results derived from each generally agree, with two exceptions. The first exception, signal heterogeneity in comparisons involving transthyretin and morphology, provides an example where phylogenetic conclusions drawn from total evidence analyses may differ from conclusions drawn from CDC analyses. The second exception demonstrates that while a CDC method may reject the null hypothesis of homogeneity for a particular partition, including that partition in combined analyses, may nevertheless provide an overall increase in phylogenetic signal, in terms of nodal support for most associations, without altering the topology derived from the combined homogeneous data partitions. Phylogenetic reconstruction among the feliform families supports a sister-group relationship between the hyaenas (Hyaenidae) and mongooses (Herpestidae) and places the African palm civet (Nandinia) as basal to all other living Feliformia. Among the caniform families, CDC analyses strongly support the previously enigmatic red panda (Ailurus) as a monotypic lineage that is sister to Musteloidea sensu stricto (mustelids plus procyonids), in addition to pinniped monophyly and a sister-group relationship between the walrus and sea lions.

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