Molecular phylogenetic relationships of two extinct potoroid marsupials, Potorous platyops and Caloprymnus campestris (Potoroinae: Marsupialia) Academic Article uri icon


  • Complete 12S rRNA and partial cytochrome b (cytb) gene sequences have been obtained from museum samples of two recently extinct potoroids-Potorous platyops and Caloprymnus campestris. Phylogenetic analyses based on these mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest that the broad-faced potoroo (P. platyops) was a close relative of the recently discovered Potorous longipes and the recently re-discovered Potorous gilberti. Although the extinct desert rat-kangaroo (C. campestris) was clearly resolved as a member of the subfamily Potoroinae, its precise relationships vis a vis other living potoroines are unclear. We confirmed that the rufous rat-kangaroo (Aepyprymnus rufescens) is sister to all living Bettongia species, but the molecular data provide no support for a sister relationship between A. rufescens and C. campestris as suggested by on the basis of four shared morphological characters. Molecular dating analyses suggest that the initial radiation of potoroinae seems to have occurred soon after its origin in the early Miocene. Within Potoroinae, C. campestris diverged from other taxa approximately 16 million years ago. P. platyops diverged from P. longipes+P. gilberti approximately 14-15 million years ago.

publication date

  • May 2004