DNA hybridization, cladistics, and the phylogeny of phalangerid marsupials

Mark S. Springer*, John A W Kirsch, Ken Aplin, Tim Flannery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Single-copy DNA/DNA hybridization experiments and numerical cladistic analyses of anatomical characters were used to investigate relationships among nine phalangerid (Marsupialia) species from four different genera. Both rate-dependent and rate-independent analyses of molecular data indicate that species of Trichosurus form one clade and that Strigocuscus, Phalanger, and Spilocuscus form a second. Within the latter group, Spilocuscus is excluded from a Strigocuscus-Phalanger calde, which, in turn, is not fully resolved on a jackknife strict consensus tree. Minimum-length Dollo, Wagner, and Camin-Sokal parsimony trees based on 35 anatomical characters, in contrast, suggest placement of Strigocuscus with Trichosurus rather than with Spilocuscus and Phalanger. However, there are two derived characters that support the alternative arrange of Strigocuscus with Spilocuscus and Phalanger and one character that further unites Strigocuscus and Phalanger. Thus, DNA hybridization results are not inconsistent with the distribution of derived character states among anatomical characters, only with minimum-length trees based on character data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-311
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1990


  • Cladistics
  • DNA/DNA hybridization
  • Marsupials
  • Phalangeridae
  • Phylogeny


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