An osteology-based appraisal of the phylogeny and evolution of kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodidae: Marsupialia)
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2010
© 2009 The Linnean Society of London
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume 159, Issue 4, pages 954–987, August 2010
How to Cite
PRIDEAUX, G. J. and WARBURTON, N. M. (2010), An osteology-based appraisal of the phylogeny and evolution of kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodidae: Marsupialia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 159: 954–987. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00607.x
- Issue published online: 26 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2010
- Received 1 March 2009; accepted for publication 1 June 2009
- environmental change;
- kangaroo phylogeny;
- morphological analysis;
- New Guinea;
Macropodids are the most diverse group of marsupial herbivores ever to have evolved. They have been the subject of more phylogenetic studies than any other marsupial family, yet relationships of several key clades remain uncertain. Two important problem areas have been the position of the merrnine (Lagostrophus fasciatus) and the phylogenetic proximity of tree-kangaroos and rock-wallabies. Our osteological analysis revealed strong support for a plesiomorphic clade (Lagostrophinae subfam. nov.) containing Lagostrophus and Troposodon, which is likely to have originated in the early Miocene. The extinct short-faced kangaroos (Sthenurinae) emerged in the middle Miocene as the sister lineage to a clade containing all other living kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodinae). New Guinea forest wallabies (Dorcopsini trib. nov.) are the most plesiomorphic macropodines; the other two main lineages include tree-kangaroos and rock-wallabies (Dendrolagini), and ‘true’ kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodini). These phylogenetic outcomes are broadly consistent with the results of recent molecular studies, although conflicts remain over the relative positions of some macropodins (e.g. Setonix, Onychogalea, and Wallabia). Given the presence of derived dendrolagins and macropodins in early Pliocene localities, it is probable that most macropodine genera originated in the late Miocene. Key functional–adaptive trajectories within the craniodental and locomotory systems of the dominant macropodid lineages represent varying responses to the spread of drier, open habitats following the Miocene Climatic Optimum.
© 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 159, 954–987.