The Ferae (// FEER-ee, Latin: [ˈfɛrae̯]) are a clade of mammals, consisting of the orders Carnivora (over 260 species, around the globe) and Pholidota (eight species of pangolins in tropical Africa and Asia). Pangolins do not exhibit morphological traits typically associated with carnivorans (wolves, cats, seals, and so on), and were thought to be the closest relatives of Xenarthra (armadillos and sloths), but DNA research conducted in the 2000s found the close relationship to carnivorans. Several extinct orders, relatives of the Pholidota, such as Creodonts, are members of Ferae as well. An alternate name, Ostentoria, has also been proposed for a grouping of the Carnivora and Pholidota.
|Diversity of carnivorans|
According to recent studies (reflected in the diagram below), the closest relatives of Ferae are Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs, and rhinos) and Cetartiodactyla (which combines Artiodactyla—camels, pigs, ruminants and hippos—with Cetacea—whales and dolphins). An alternate phylogeny (less supported) holds that the closest relatives to the Ferae are the Perissodactyla and Chiroptera (bats), not Cetartiodactyla. Ferae together with Perissodactyla has been called Zooamata. Ferae, Perissodactyla, and Chiroptera together has been called Pegasoferae.
|Phylogenetic position of the Ferae in the context of the order-level cladogram of Boreoeutheria.|
|The cladogram has been reconstructed from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and protein characters.|
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