Where did the modern lineages of placental mammals originate? Recent molecular data seemingly have overturned not only schemata of placental relationships based on morphological data, but also hypotheses about the time and place of origin of the modern lineages. The original hypothesis of Northern Hemisphere origin, based on the fossil record, has been replaced by a “Garden of Eden” hypothesis of origins on a southern continent, based on molecular phylogenies. But, do the molecular data really support this new view of placental mammal origins?

Recent molecular phylogenies have converged on the finding of two basal placental clades (Springer et...

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