Talk:Miacoidea

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There's an article in Wikipedia about this taxon:

en: Miacids

no problem with the taxon, only with the way it was implemented ;-). please stick to syntax rules. thanks. Lycaon 06:23, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Easier said than done. Check the Miacids article and en Carnivora for the bad news. Both articles treat Pinnipedia and Fissipedia as obsolete terms. The Carnivora article lists the new suborders as "Feliformia" and "Caniformia". The Miacids article lists the suborders as superfamilies, "Canoidea" and "Feloidea" and puts the Miacids in their own superfamily.

Now, I'm tempted to use the latter scheme, as that would keep me from having to use "Unknown Suborder" for the Miacids. Unfortunately, either scheme would involve a serious reshuffling of families.

Can somebody more knowledgeable about mammals help?

--Rutledge

The Wikipedia Miacids article and Carnivora article classifications will be rewritten and regrouped to be more in accord with each other but it is difficult because of the evolutionary age distinctions. A major problem is the layman's association of carnivores with carnivora: carnivore does not equal carnivora. The first mammalian "meat eaters" were the Creodonta followed by Carnivoramorpha (an article to be written) and then the Carnivora. The Carnivoramorpha (basal to Carnivora) evolved into the Miacoidea†-Miacoid Group (65-45 Ma), that then split into two groups: Miacidae (paraphyletic) and Viverravidae. Traditionally, the Miacidae and the Viverravidae have been classified in the superfamily Miacoidea, from which the direct ancestors of the other two superfamilies arose. The Miacidae evolved into the Caniformia (Caniforms), so the ranking now is: Order Carnivora, Superfamily Miacoidea, Family Miacidae; then Suborder Caniformia. I think it should be "Order" Carnivoramorpha instead of Carnivora. The Amphicyonids were the first of the Caniforms to split off. The divergence age of the subclades Caniformia and Feliformian occurred during the Mid-Eocene (~43 mya).
I'm not sure how one can reconcile this. The problem is that we're dealing with three distinct carnivore groups (Creodonts, Carnivoramorpha, and Carnivora) that existed in overlapping multiple-epoch time periods, but we have to stick to the 7 taxonomic levels, else it would get too complicated. A family in one order and a family in another order can be at a different level in terms of evolutionary timescale, so the classification has to be viewed in its context. Nevertheless, we have to strive for some consistency, or else make this context clear in the article for better understanding and no confusion.
Pinnipedia (Pinnipeds) derived from a common bearlike ancestor from the Caniformia group during the late Oligocene Epoch (~30-34 Ma), diverging ~25-27 Ma into the 3 families: Odobenidae (walruses), Otariidae (sea lions), and Phocidae (seals). "The pinnipeds are part of a clade, known as the Arctoidea, which also includes the bears and the superfamily Musteloidea. The Musteloidea in turn consists of the mustelids, procyonids, skunks and Ailurus. The dogs are the sister group to the entire arctoid assemblage; they were the first of the extant caniforms to split from the others." Valich 04:55, 15 February 2007 (UTC)