Order Scandentia


The Scandentia includes only the so-called tree shrews, which variously has been considered a member of the Insectivora, a member of the Primates, or as being in an order of its own, as followed here. Members look superficially like small, long-snouted squirrels, but possess upper molars with W-shaped ectolophs. Presumably this group split from the insectivore line at an early date and, except for some specializations of the anterior dentition, have diverged little since—thus we may have a general picture of what ancestors `of modern insectivores (Soricomorpha), primates, and the like looked like. The retention of primitive characters also accounts for the basic similarities with insectivores and their offspring, including the Primates.

See photographs and information on the Animal Diversity Web.


Last Update: 21 Jan 2008

Centennial Museum and Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso