MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Exoskeleton and Systematics: A Historical Problem in the Classification of Glyptodonts
FERNICOLA, J. C.; PORPINO DE OLIVERA, K.
JOURNAL OF MAMMALIAN EVOLUTION
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2012 p. 1 - 1
The glyptodonts (Mammalia: Cingulata) are characterized by an exoskeleton comprising most notably an armored tail and an immobile dorsal carapace formed by a large number of osteoderms. In 1889, Florentino Ameghino published the first phylogenetic scenario for the glyptodonts, based on the sequential application of two transformation series related to the morphology of the tail armor and carapace osteoderms. From the early to mid 1900s, several authors used Ameghinos transformation series subordinated to a model of evolution in which derived glyptodont groups had arisen independently from separate pre-middle Miocene ancestors. This approach, in which the morphological states of Ameghinos series were considered analogous rather than homologous, provided different phylogenetic scenarios and the paraphyletic classification still in use. Two recent cladistic analyses based on cranial and postcranial (including caudal tube) characters support the monophyly of glyptodonts and suggest novel intra-clade relationships. However, neither analysis included the classic osteoderm characters used by earlier authors. Therefore, we propose new osteoderm and carapace characters and evaluate their performance in a new cladistic analysis. We found that: a) some osteoderm characters used by earlier authors to support ancestor-descendent hypotheses are in fact fully homoplastic autapomorphies (e.g., multiplication of the number of rows of peripheral figures); b) characters previously believed to have originated independently in several groups (e.g., presence of caudal tube) are synapomorphies at a wider hierarchical level; c) some ancestordescendant pre-cladistichypotheses are incompatible with the topology and synapomorphy distribution obtained; and d) there is no reason to favor exoskeletal characters in glyptodont systematics.