The first known members of the order Artiodactyla appeared suddenly throughout the Holarctic region at the beginning of the Eocene. They are characterized by distinctive cursorial skeletal specializations. Owing to their abrupt appearance and the lack of transitional forms, the origin of the order is problematic. Descent from a 'condylarth,' specifically the arctocyonid Chriacus, has been suggested based on denial resemblances, but until now postcranial anatomy seemed to preclude close relationship between Arctocyonidae and Artiodactyla. A middle Paleocene specimen of a small arctocyonid (?Chriacus) reported here is much more similar to the oldest artiodactyl, Diacodexis, in the derived condition of the hindlimb, reviving the possibility that Artiodactyla evolved from an arctocyonid.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Feb 20 1996|
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