Placental Mammals and the limits of phylogenetic inference

More support for Atlantogenata. 

This week an international collaborative effort has tackled a major challenge in phylogenetics – the interrelationships amongst placental mammals. The paper has just been published in Genome Biology and Evolution (please click here to see the paper). In work led by Dr James Tarver and Dr Davide Pisani (with contributions from our research group and a wonderful team of evolutionary biologists), we conclude that the placental mammal phylogeny is not a hard polytomy as previously thought.

Using a variety of data types and approaches we show that the effects of incomplete lineage sorting and rapid radiation (while having some impact in early placental evolution) do not make the phylogeny of mammals impossible. Here we show that all datasets applied converge on a single position for the rooting Рthe Atlantogenata position. We estimate that the crown Atlantogenata diverged approx. 84-97 MYA.

This is further support for the Atlantogenata position for the root of placental mammals published here (Morgan et al MBE 2013).


Results from three of the phylogenetic analyses with each one providing support for Atlantogenata as the sister taxon to all other eutherians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *