Craniodental characters and the relationships of Procyonidae (Mammalia: Carnivora)



    Corresponding author
    1. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C1100, Austin, TX 78712, USA
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    • Current address: Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E. Monument St., Room 308, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.



Recent phylogenies of Procyonidae based on molecular data differ significantly from previous morphology-based phylogenies in all generic sister taxon relationships. I have compiled the most comprehensive dataset of craniodental morphology that incorporates previous morphological characters, and with the aid of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, new characters. This expanded craniodental analysis is based on 78 characters and yields new phylogenetic results regarding the ingroup relationships of Procyonidae. These results include Bassariscus astutus as the least derived member of Procyonidae and Ailurus fulgens nested well within the clade. Additionally, there are some similarities to previous morphological analyses of Procyonidae. Although the characters used to unite and diagnose Procyonidae vary depending on the phylogenetic analysis and have ambiguous taxonomic distribution amongst both Procyonidae and Musteloidea, there is significant morphological support for clades within Procyonidae. In addition to the strength of the morphological support within the clade, the disparate topographical regions of the skull from which the characters are derived may indicate that these synapomorphies are indeed the result of homology rather than adaptive convergence, as suggested by analyses based on molecular data.

© 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 164, 669–713.