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1 February 2006 Evidence from Nuclear DNA Sequences Sheds Light on the Phylogenetic Relationships of Pinnipedia: Single Origin with Affinity to Musteloidea
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Abstract

Considerable long-standing controversy and confusion surround the phylogenetic affinities of pinnipeds, the largely marine group of “fin-footed” members of the placental mammalian order Carnivora. Until most recently, the two major competing hypotheses were that the pinnipeds have a single (monophyletic) origin from a bear-like ancestor, or that they have a dual (diphyletic) origin, with sea lions (Otariidae) derived from a bear-like ancestor, and seals (Phocidae) derived from an otter-, mustelid-, or musteloid-like ancestor. We examined phylogenetic relationships among 29 species of arctoid carnivorans using a concatenated sequence of 3228 bp from three nuclear loci (apolipoprotein B, APOB; interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein, IRBP; recombination-activating gene 1, RAG1). The species represented Pinnipedia (Otariidae: Callorhinus, Eumetopias; Phocidae: Phoca), bears (Ursidae: Ursus, Melursus), and Musteloidea (Mustelidae: Mustela, Enhydra, Melogale, Martes, Gulo, Meles; Procyonidae: Procyon; Ailuridae: Ailurus; Mephitidae: Mephitis). Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference phylogenetic analyses of separate and combined datasets produced trees with largely congruent topologies. The analyses of the combined dataset resulted in well-resolved and well-supported phylogeny reconstructions. Evidence from nuclear DNA evolution presented here contradicts the two major hypotheses of pinniped relationships and strongly suggests a single origin of the pinnipeds from an arctoid ancestor shared with Musteloidea to the exclusion of Ursidae.

Jun J. Sato, Mieczyslaw Wolsan, Hitoshi Suzuki, Tetsuji Hosoda, Yasunori Yamaguchi, Kozue Hiyama, Mari Kobayashi, and Shinji Minami "Evidence from Nuclear DNA Sequences Sheds Light on the Phylogenetic Relationships of Pinnipedia: Single Origin with Affinity to Musteloidea," Zoological Science 23(2), 125-146, (1 February 2006). https://doi.org/10.2108/zsj.23.125
Received: 13 May 2005; Accepted: 1 November 2005; Published: 1 February 2006
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