Macroscelidea

Abstract

Macroscelids are known as elephant shrews because of their long and narrow snouts. Living exclusively in Africa, they are small mammals with a head and body length between 95 and 315 mm, and tail length between 80 and 235 mm.

Key Concepts

  • In spite of their name, elephant shrews (Macroscelidea) are not shrews and despite their appearance and size, they are not rodents either.
  • Systematics is the study and description of the diversification of both past and present organisms and their classification.
  • Phylogeny is a part of systematics that reports the inference of the evolutionary history and relationships among or within groups of organisms.
  • Conservation biology is the management of biodiversity with the objective of esablishing protective measures against the risks of extinction of species, of their habitats and to maintain a balance in ecosystems. This is why the species are classified by the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species).
  • Paleontology corresponds to the study of organisms (classification and relationships) that lived prior to, and sometimes including, the beginning of the Holocene (around 11,700 years before present).

Keywords: mammals; Macroscelidea; elephant shrews; diversity; evolution

References

Butler PM (1995) Fossil Macroscelidea. Mammal Review 25: 3–14.

Corbet GB and Hanks J (1968) A revision of the elephant‐shrews, Family Macroscelididae. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 16: 47–111.

IUCN (2020) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020‐1. https://www.iucnredlist.org (accessed 19 March 2020).

Evans FG (1942) The osteology and relationships of the elephant shrews: Macroscelididae. American Museum Of Natural History 80: 85–125.

Holroyd PA (2010) Macroscelidea. In: Sanders WJ and Werdelin L (eds) Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA.

Lovegrove BG, Raman J and Perrin MR (2001a) Heterothermy in elephant shrews, Elephantulus spp. (Macroscelidea): daily torpor or hibernation? Journal of Comparative Physiology 171: 1–10.

Lovegrove BG, Raman J and Perrin MR (2001b) Daily torpor in elephant shrews (Macroscelidae: Elephantulus spp.) in response to food deprivation. Journal of Comparitive Physiology Series B 171: 11–21.

McKenna MC and Bell SK (1997) Classification of Mammals. Above the Species Level, 631 p. Columbia University Press: New York.

Nicoll ME and Rathbun GB (1990) African Insectivora and Elephant Shrews, an Action Plan for their Conservation, 53 p. SSC Status Survey and Conservation Action Plans International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Novak RM and Walker EP (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, Maryland.

Patterson B (1965) The fossil elephant‐shrews (Family Macroscelididae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 133: 295–335.

Perrin MR (1995) Comparative aspects of the metabolism and thermal biology of elephant‐shrews (Macroscelidea). Mammal Review 25: 61–78.

Seiffert ER (2007) A new estimate of afrotherian phylogeny based on simultaneous analysis of genomic, morphological, and fossil evidence. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 224:13 p.

Smit HA, Jansen van Vuuren B, O'Brien PCM, et al. (2011) Phylogenetic relationships of elephant shrews (Afrotheria, Macroscelididae). Journal of Zoology 284: 133–143.

Wilson DE and Reeder DM (eds) (1993) Mammal Species of the World, 2nd edn. Smithsonian Institution Press and The American Society of Mammalogists: Washington DC.

Further Reading

Kingdon J, Happold D, Butynski T, et al. (2013) Mammals of Africa, vol. 1, 352p. Bloomsbury ed.

MacDonald DW (1986) Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications: New York.

MacDonald DW (2001) The new Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press.

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How to Cite close
Montuire, Sophie(Dec 2020) Macroscelidea. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0029233]