Pilosa Flower, 1883
Edentata Vicq-d'Azyr, 1792
* Don E. Wilson & DeeAnn M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World : A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2-volume set (3rd ed).
The order Pilosa is a group of placental mammals, extant today only in the Americas. It includes the anteaters and sloths, including the recently extinct ground sloths.
The biogeographic origins of the Pilosa is still unclear but they can be traced back in South America as far as the early Tertiary (about 60 million years ago, or only a short time after the end of the dinosaur era). The presence of these animals in Central America is explained by the Great American Interchange.
Together with the armadillos, Pilosa is part of the larger group Xenarthra. In the past Pilosa was regarded as a suborder of the order Xenarthra, while some more recent classifications regard Pilosa as an order within a superorder Xenarthra. Earlier still, both armadillos and Pilosans were classified together with pangolins and the Aardvark as the order Edentata (meaning toothless, because the members do not have front incisor teeth or molars, or have poorly-developed molars). It was subsequently realized that Edentata was polyphyletic—that it contained unrelated families and was thus invalid.
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