Posts Tagged ‘Caniformia’


Also check out the Caniformia video to see how the whole order Carnivora evolved from common ancestors that looked like genets or genet/fox hybrids.

He mislabels a few species- snow leopards, clouded leopards, and the ocelot.

And at least one Pantherine cat has hybridized with a “small” cat. The cougar and leopard have produced “pumapards.” Also, modern cheetahs evolved in the Old World, but they do share common ancestry with cougars and jaguarundis. The ancestral cheetah entered the Old World, but it was more like a cougar than a cheetah. However, there were North American cheetahs, but they were more closely related modern cougars and jaguarundis than Old World cheetahs.  The cougar cats have evolved cheetah-like characteristics twice: once in the Old World and once in the New World. The New World “cheetahs” evolved first, but they are not ancestral to the Old World cheetah species.

Despite these little quibbles, this is an excellent video, and it should be watched with the Caniformia video to really understand how dogs, cats, and other Carnivora species evolved.

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He takes down Ray Comfort’s nonsense.  Comfort has no clue.

He also argues that Lycaon pictus ought to be in the genus Canis, for exactly the same reason I feel it should be. It and the dhole are more closely related to the other species of the genus Canis than the black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal are. Xenocyon lycoanoides, the extinct ancestor of the African wild dog, should also be part of this very important genus in the dog family.  (See the dog phylogenetic tree).

He is a little off on the origins of the dog. The East Asian theory of dog origins seems to have been falsified through the genome-wide study that utilitized SNP chip technology found that dogs had greater genetic similarity with Middle Eastern wolves, which suggests that the Middle Eastern wolves, not the East Asian wolves, are the main ancestors of domestic dogs.

Epicyon and the Amphicyonids make an appearance in this video, as to the “dog-bears” (Hemicyonids).

The Caniformia suborder of Carnivora has the most diverse species. Not only does it have domestic dogs, which have greater diversity in head morphology than the whole order Carnivora combined, it includes the smallest member of the order (the least weasel) and the largest (the southern elephant seal). Yes, Carnivora includes the seals, walruses, and seal lions, which are now classified within the Caniformia suborder.

Red pandas are fascinating because of their status as a “living fossil.’

And giant pandas are bears with fused chromosomes.  The two animals evolved their bamboo diet and their very similar s specialized wrist that acts like a thumb in parallel with with each other. Their common ancestor in the basal Caniformia didn’t have that thumb wrist or the specialized bamboo diet. Because both of these animals are derived from meat-eating Carnivora ancestors, they have not developed the ability to digest cellulose, so they have to eat tons of bamboo to survive. If these animals had been designed, one would think the designer would have put in some digestive bacteria in them to help them digest cellulose.

Please note that hyenas are missing from the Caniform cladistics video. Simple reason:  Hyenas are not in Caniformia. They are in the other big suborder of Carnivora, Feliformia.  Yes. Hyenas have a closer common ancestor with cats than with dogs.

This is a very good video.

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It’s a Northern elephant seal skull.

This is what they look like alive:


Northern elephant seals are the second largest members of the order Carnivora. The largest is the Southern elephant seal.

This may have been a bit confusing for some of you because seals, sea lions, and walruses were once classified in their own order called Pinnipedia. This order is no longer considered valid.

Seals, sea lions, and the walrus are derived from the same common ancestor as bears.

That puts these marine mammals with in the suborder Caniformia. This suborder includes dogs, bears,  the red panda, mustelids, skunks and stink badgers, and procyonids.

The smallest member of the order Carnivora is the least weasel. It is a mustelid, and it is also a member of the suborder Caniformia. The largest fully terrestrial member of the order Carnivora is the Kodiak subspecies of the brown bear, but the largest bear is the polar bear, which could be classified as a marine mammal.

The other suborder in Carnivora is Feliformia, which isn’t quite as spectacularly diverse in shapes, but it does include hyenas, which is why hyenas are more closely related to cats than they are to dogs.

I should point out that Southern elephant seals are significantly larger than Northern elephant seals. The biggest bull Northern elephant seals weigh about 5,000 pounds. On average, the biggest Southern elephant seals weigh over 8,000 pounds. The biggest on record was nearly 11,000 pounds in weight.

In case you’re curious, the walrus is a close third behind the northern elephant seal when it comes to size. The biggest bull walruses weigh over 4,00o pounds.  The fourth largest is the Steller’s sea lion, which gets up to around 2,500 pounds.

All of these are much larger than Kodiak and polar bears. The biggest wild Kodiak bears weigh over 1,400 pounds, and the heaviest polar bear on record supposedly weighed over 2,000 pounds (I’m skeptical). One should remember that polar bears are actually a modified brown bear that can utilize marine and polar ice environments.

Northern elephant seals experienced a rapid population drop when whalers augmented their stores of train with their blubber. The population is believed to have dropped to as low as 100 individuals. There are currently 100,000 of  them on the Pacific Coast of North America. These animals have very low genetic diversity, and although they appear fine right now in terms of their productivity, the species could be fragile.

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