Butler, Percy M. Egham, United Kingdom.
McKenna, Malcolm C. American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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An obsolete order of placental insectivorous mammals, now mostly reassigned to the order Eulipotyphla, including the shrews, moles, hedgehogs, and solenodons. The order Insectivora was formerly thought by taxonomists to be a basal placental order, containing a large variety of relatively small insectivorous mammals. However, after extensive taxonomic revision (initially being restricted to members of the former taxon Lipotyphla), the most recent phylogenetic analyses have determined that the order Insectivora should no longer be considered valid, instead reassigning its former constituent members to a number of other taxa. The most notable one is the order Eulipotyphla, which comprises the "true" shrews (family Soricidae), moles (family Talpidae), hedgehogs (family Erinaceidae), and solenodons (family Solenodontidae). In addition, the tree shrews (families Tupaiidae and Ptilocercidae) and elephant shrews (family Macroscelididae) are now recognized as unrelated and have been placed in separate orders (Scandentia and Macroscelidea, respectively), whereas the tenrecs (family Tenrecidae) and the golden moles (family Chrysochloridae) have been combined into the order Afrosoricida. Still, insectivore is a common term that is used to describe the former members of the Insectivora grouping. See also: Hedgehog; Macroscelidea; Mammalia; Mole (zoology); Phylogeny; Shrew; Solenodon; Taxonomy; Tenrec
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