The term "Euarchonta" (Waddell et al. 1999, meaning "true ancestors") appeared in 1999, when molecular evidence suggested that the morphology-based Archonta should be trimmed down to exclude Chiroptera (Waddell et al. 1999b). Further DNA sequence analyses (Madsen et al. 2001, Murphy et al., 2001 Waddell et al. 2001) supported the Euarchonta hypothesis. Despite multiple papers pointing out that some mitochondrial sequences showed unusual properties (particularly murid rodents and hedgehogs) and were likely distorting the overall tree (Sullivan and Swofford 1997, Waddell et al. 1999c), and despite Waddell et al. (2001) showing near total congruence of mtDNA-based and nuclear-based trees when such sequences were excluded, some authors continued to produce misleading trees (Arnason et al., 2002). A study investigating retrotransposonpresence/absence data has claimed strong support for Euarchonta (Kriegs et al., 2007). Some interpretations of the molecular data link Primates and Dermoptera in a clade (mirorder) known as Primatomorpha, which is the sister of Scandentia. In some, the Dermoptera are a member of the primates rather than a sister group. Other interpretations link the Dermoptera and Scandentia together in a group called Sundatheria as the sister group of the primates.
The current hypothesis, based on molecular clock evidence, suggests that the Euarchonta arose in the Cretaceous period, about 88 million years ago, and diverged 86.2 million years ago into the groups of tree shrews and Primatomorpha. The latter diverged prior to 79.6 million years into the orders of Primates and Dermoptera. The earliest fossil species often ascribed to Euarchonta (Purgatorius coracis) dates to the early Paleocene, 65 million years ago, but it appears to have been a non-placental eutherian. Although it is known that Scandentia is one of the most basal Euarchontoglire clades, the exact phylogenetic position is not yet considered resolved, and it may be a sister of Glires, Primatomorpha or Dermoptera or to all other Euarchontoglires.
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Waddell, P.J.; Cao, Y.; Hasegawa, M.; Mindell, D.P. (1999a). "Assessing the Cretaceous superordinal divergence times within birds and placental mammals using whole mitochondrial protein sequences and an extended statistical framework". Systematic Biology. 48 (1): 119-137. doi:10.1080/106351599260481. PMID12078636.
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