The old debate on hippopotamid origins is still unresolved, balancing between two main phylogenetic hypotheses: origins within the Anthracotheriidae vs. origins within the Tayassuidae. The characters used in the literature to support one, the other, or both hypotheses were re-examined in light of a better known primitive hippopotamid morphology. A cladistic analysis was performed on the basis of these characters. On the one hand, although many features similar in hippopotamuses and anthracotheres appear to have evolved in parallel, the family Anthracotheriidae remains the best putative hippopotamus stem group on the basis of the reviewed characters. However, the precise identification of a stem group within this family is still uncertain. On the other hand, the lineage proposed in the tayassuid hypothesis should not be retained, being mostly based on some incorrect observations and without taking into account the derived or primitive nature of the features. The anatomic similarities seen between modern peccaries and Hippopotamus amphibius are the results of convergences between advanced species of both families.