Afrotheres of the World Unite!

7 February 2008


The recent description of a new species of sengi, Rynchocyon udzungwensis, inspired me to finally complete a project I’ve been talking about for years. Behold: the official Afrotheria logo–soon to be seen on a bumper-sticker or t-shirt near you!

(Note: while the new sengi is freaking huge, tipping the scales at 700g, the animals in the logo are, um, not to scale).

“Gondwanaism and Afrothereists” is the name of a chapter in my book Paleontology After Modernism which will almost certainly never be written.

I ultimately decided not to include the extinct Afrothere lineages Desmostylians and Embrithopods, despite the fact that they are some of my favorite mammals, because I was afraid it would look too crowded, plus my lab-mates were starting to ask questions.

Anyone who can name all seven taxa pictured will win a free t-shirt, once I get around to printing them…

Props to Seth Newsome for the inspiration.

Now I guess I had better get to designing logos for Xenarthra, Laurasiatheria and Euarchontoglires.

11 Responses to “Afrotheres of the World Unite!”

  1. I see representatives of at least nine taxa there – were you not counting the Homo sapiens hand and the Poaceae individuals?

    As for the afrotherians, you could have made it a bit more of a challenge, unless you want to know exactly which species of Trichechus or Procavia we’re looking at. I’m going to go with T. manatus and Procavia capensis. Otherwise, we’ve got Loxodonta africana, Orycteropus afer, Rhynchocyon chrysopygus, Eremitalpa granti, and Hemicentetes semispinosus. Okay, the chrysochlorid was a total guess, but I’ll stick with the other ones.

  2. Neil Says:

    I’d say you earned a shirt Christopher. Six of seven to species!

    Take another look at the tenrec.

  3. Zach Miller Says:

    Love those desmosponylins too, Neil. Any idea where those buggers fit into the greater Afrotheria (if Afrotheria at all?). I’ve even seen it suggested that they form a sister group to sirenians.

  4. neil Says:

    Desmostylians are certainly very closely related to both sirenians and proboscideans and the three have been lumped together as “Tethytheria”, a slighty controversial, but probably real group. The argument is about where hyraxes fit in, some suggest they would split the group making it synonymous with Simpson’s “Paenungulata.”

    Regardless, desmostylians were afrotheres, despite the fact that all of their fossils come from the northern Pacific rim. Some have suggested that afrotheria may not even have African origins, despite the fact that many of its living members are restricted to Africa!

    On a slightly related (and totally awesome) note: elephants may have evolved from aquatic or semi-aquatic ancestors! This might mean that a semi-aquatic lifestyle is a basal character for Tethytheria.

  5. Zach Miller Says:

    Holy crap! That’s awesome!!!

  6. […] 15 December 2008 Wakarimasen.  Name the cucurbit:  Winner recieves an Afrothere t-shirt! (Christopher Taylors need not […]

  7. Mike Keesey Says:

    What’s a boreotherian manus doing in an afrothere shirt?

  8. Neil Says:

    A very fair point Mike. For that matter, as Christopher also pointed out, what the heck is an angiosperm doing there?

    Uh, chalk it up to artistic license I suppose?

  9. And ten months later, I finally notice the follow-up comment. Take another look at the tenrec? Either Setifer setosus or Tenrec ecaudatus?

  10. Neil Says:

    There seems to be some sort of tenrec conspiracy going down.

    I’m keeping my mouth shut.

  11. […] Tenrec in My Pants 5 August 2009 I owe you a T-shirt.  I’m sorry.  It’s tough being both a perfectionist and  a procrastinator, terribly […]

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