African Elephant

  • Proboscidea ( Proboscidea )
  • Manatees ( Sirenia)
  • Hyrax ( Hyracoidea )

The Paenungulata represent a taxon of mammals, in which the three orders of the Proboscidea, Sirenia, and the hyrax are summarized. Extinct representatives include the Embrithopoda and Desmostylia.


While the togetherness of this group is largely confirmed by genetic testing, there are but few morphological features. These include details of the construction of the ankle bone, that 19 or more thoracic vertebrae are present and that the third molar is much greater both in the maxilla and in the mandible than the second.


First sparse finds are known from the Paleocene and early Eocene, the group is certainly older origin and likely to be incurred in the Cretaceous period. In the late Eocene and Oligocene, the group had its first heyday, there were numerous families of Hyrax and Russell animals, mainly in Africa. The marine manatees and the mammoths reached later almost a worldwide distribution. Not least due to human intervention, there are now only around eleven species of this group.


The name Paenungulata ( " near- ungulates' ) indicates that this group earlier for representatives or at least closely related to the " ungulates " held, were put together by morphological point of view group, the hyrax long time were regarded as relatives of the Perissodactyla. Genetic studies, however, is largely beyond doubt that the Paenungulata belong to the diverse group of Afrotheria and are thus neither related to the artiodactyls still with the odd-toed ungulates.

Within the Paenungulata form manatees and proboscids the taxon Tethytheria, which is the sister taxon of the hyrax. This comes in the following cladogram expressed:

Hyrax ( Hyracoidea )

Embrithopoda †

Desmostylia †

Proboscidea ( Proboscidea )

Manatees ( Sirenia)

In addition to the three extant orders of the Paenungulata include even the Embrithopoda (whose most famous member is Arsinoitherium ) and the Desmostylia ( one known from the North Pacific group of large, aquatic animals).