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OriginsThe Search for Our Prehistoric Past$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702440.001.0001

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The Rise of the Mammals

The Rise of the Mammals

(p.172) 12 The Rise of the Mammals

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter provides a brief overview of mammals and illustrates their variety in a cladistics context. Though still the subject of debate, cladistics—a system of biological classification based on the evolutionary history and inferred relationships of a group, rather than on the traditional basis of structural similarities—has modified and profoundly disturbed long-established groupings and classification. To demonstrate the diversity of mammals, this chapter will use traditional terminology (“reptiles,” “birds,” “snakes,” and so on) to illustrate the relationships of mammalian groups (“grades”) to the new cladistics by using a series of illustrations by Donald Prothero that show these traditional groups in a cladistic context.

Keywords:   mammals, cladistics, grades, class Mammalia, early mammals, mammalian groups, Donald Prothero

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