Abstract

Over the past 10 years, the phylogenetic relationships among higher-level artiodactyl taxa have been examined with multiple data sets. Many of these data sets suggest that Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) is paraphyletic and that Cetacea (whales) represents a highly derived “artiodactyl” subgroup. In this report, phylogenetic relationships between Cetacea and artiodactyls are tested with a combination of 15 published data sets plus new DNA sequence data from two nuclear loci, interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) and von Willebrand factor (vWF). The addition of the IRBP and vWF character sets disrupts none of the relationships supported by recent cladistic analyses of the other 15 data sets. Simultaneous analyses support three critical clades: (Cetacea + Hippopotamidae), (Cetacea + Hippopotamidae + Ruminantia), and (Cetacea + Hippopotamidae + Ruminantia + Suina). Perturbations of the combined matrix show that the above clades are stable to a variety of disturbances. A chronicle of phylogenetic results over the past 3 years suggests that cladistic relationships between Cetacea and artiodactyls have been stable to increased taxonomic sampling and to the addition of more than 1,400 informative characters from 15 data sets.