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Short description: Group of rodents

Temporal range: Oligocene - Recent
Naked mole-rat
Scientific classification e
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Infraorder: Hystricognathi
Parvorder: Phiomorpha
Lavocat, 1962

The rodent parvorder or infraorder Phiomorpha comprises several living and extinct families found wholly or largely in Africa. Along with Anomaluromorpha and perhaps the extinct Zegdoumyidae, it represents one of the few early colonizations of Africa by rodents.

During the Oligocene, Africa was not connected to any of the other continents. The predominant theory suggests that rodents first evolved in Laurasia, and expanded outward from there. Although Europe, Asia, and North America were distinct landmasses during much of the Eocene and Oligocene, they experienced intermittent migration events across the shallow sea separating Europe and Asia, via an ice-free Greenland (Europe and North America), or across Beringia (North America and Asia). The southern continents were much more isolated leading to the unique faunas of Australia , South America, and to a lesser degree Africa.

Although the hystricognath rodents may have evolved from an early entodacryan ancestor in Asia, they migrated to Africa soon after. Phiomorpha represents the clade that evolved as a result. Although once diverse, this infraorder is now restricted to the Old World porcupines, the cane rats, the dassie rat, the naked mole-rat, and the blesmols.


The makeup of this infraorder is controversial. At its core lie the extant families Thryonomyidae, Petromuridae, and Bathyergidae and their extinct relatives. The Old World porcupines (Hystricidae) are sometimes included in Phiomorpha,[1] but many authorities consider them either basal to all hystricognaths or basal to all hystricognaths except the Laotian rock rat (family Diatomyidae); also, more recent evidence not supports them belonging in Phiomorpha. Molecular results suggest that the Diatomyidae is a part of the Ctenodactylomorphi,[2] but this is in contrast to morphological results which place the animal at a basal position to all hystricognaths.

See also


  1. Sheng, Guilian; Hu, Jiaming; Tong, Haowen; Llamas, Bastien; Yuan, Junxia; Hou, Xindong; Chen, Shungang; Xiao, Bo et al. (2020-07-18). "Ancient DNA of northern China Hystricidae sub-fossils reveals the evolutionary history of old world porcupines in the Late Pleistocene". BMC Evolutionary Biology 20 (1): 88. doi:10.1186/s12862-020-01656-x. ISSN 1471-2148. PMID 32682389. PMC 7368748. 
  2. D’Elía, Guillermo; Fabre, Pierre-Henri; Lessa, Enrique P (2019-05-23). "Rodent systematics in an age of discovery: recent advances and prospects". Journal of Mammalogy 100 (3): 852–871. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyy179. ISSN 0022-2372. 
  • Huchon, D. E. J. P. Douzery. 2001. From the Old World to the New World: A molecular chronicle of the phylogeny and biogeography of hystricognath rodents. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 20:238-251.
  • Marivaux, L. M. Vianey-Liaud, and J.-J. Jaeger. 2004. High-level phylogeny of early Tertiary rodents: dental evidence. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 142:105-134.
  • McKenna, Malcolm C., and Bell, Susan K. 1997. Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York, 631 pp. ISBN:0-231-11013-8

Wikidata ☰ Q1038982 entry