Mesozoic origin for West Indian insectivores

Alfred L. Roca, Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Eduardo Eizirik, Kristofer M. Helgen, Roberto Maria, Mark S. Springer, Stephen J. O'Brien, William J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The highly endangered sol-enodons, endemic to Cuba (Solenodon cubanus) and Hispaniola (S. paradoxus), comprise the only two surviving species of West Indian insectivores. Combined gene sequences (13.9 kilobases) from S. paradoxus established that solenodons diverged from other eulipotyphlan insectivores 76 million years ago in the Cretaceous period, which is consistent with vicariance, though also compatible with dispersal. A sequence of 1.6 kilobases of mitochondrial DNA from S. cubanus indicated a deep divergence of 25 million years versus the congeneric S. paradoxus, which is consistent with vicariant origins as tectonic forces separated Cuba and Hispaniola. Efforts to prevent extinction of the two surviving solenodon species would conserve an entire lineage as old or older than many mammalian orders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-651
Number of pages3
Issue number6992
StatePublished - Jun 10 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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