Pegasoferae is a recently proposed clade of mammals based on genomic research in molecular systematics by Nishihara, Hasegawa and Okada (2006). To the surprise of the authors, their data led them to propose a clade that includes bats (order Chiroptera), carnivores such as cats and dogs (order Carnivora), horses and other odd-toed ungulates (order Perissodactyla) and pangolins (order Pholidota) as springing from a single evolutionary origin within the mammals. According to this, the odd-toed ungulates' closest living relatives are the carnivorans. Earlier theories of mammalian evolution would, for example, have aligned bats with the insectivores (order Eulipotyphla) and horses with the even-toed ungulates (order Artiodactyla). . Subsequent molecular studies have failed to support Pegasoferae (Matthee et al., 2007; Springer et al., 2007).
The name Pegasoferae was coined from the name of the mythological flying horse Pegasus to refer to bats and horses, and the term Ferae, encompassing carnivorans and pangolins.
- Matthee, C. A., G. Eick, et al. (2007). Indel evolution of mammalian introns and the utility of non-coding nuclear markers in eutherian phylogenetics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42, 827-837.
- Nishihara, H., Hasegawa, M., & Okada, N. (2006). Pegasoferae, an unexpected mammalian clade revealed by tracking ancient retroposon insertions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 9929-9934.
- Springer M.S., Burk-Herrick A., Meredith R., Eizirik, E., Teeling, E., O'Brien, S.J., and Murphy, W.J. (2007). The adequacy of morphology for reconstructing the early history of placental mammals Systematic Biology 56, 673-684.