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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • Asia;
  • extant;
  • fossil;
  • Miocene;
  • Pleistocene;
  • Pliocene;
  • systematics

The phylogeny and taxonomy of the whole family Hippopotamidae is in need of reconsideration, the present confusion obstructing palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography studies of these Neogene mammals. The revision of the Hippopotamidae initiated here deals with the last 8 Myr of African and Asian species. The first thorough cladistic analysis of the family is presented here. The outcome of this analysis, including 37 morphological characters coded for 15 extant and fossil taxa, as well as non-coded features of mandibular morphology, was used to reconstruct broad outlines of hippo phylogeny. Distinct lineages within the paraphyletic genus Hexaprotodon are recognized and characterized. In order to harmonize taxonomy and phylogeny, two new genera are created. The genus name Choeropsis is re-validated for the extant Liberian hippo. The nomen Hexaprotodon is restricted to the fossil lineage mostly known in Asia, but also including at least one African species. The genus Hippopotamus is confirmed. These changes represent substantial advances for understanding the evolutionary history of the Hippopotamidae, and provide a new framework for future studies. © 2005 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2005, 143, 1–26.