Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Scandentia

Monotypic mammalian order to which the tree shrews (family Tupaiidae) belong. Consists of one family, five genera, and sixteen species; member of the grandorder Archonta. Tree shrews are located in Asia and, despite their name, contain some semiterrestrial genera; there are both diurnal and nocturnal species; body mass ranges from 100 to 400 g; quadrupedal. Dental formula: 2.1.3.3/3.1.3.3; diet is insectivorous and frugivorous. From the 1920s to the 1970s tree shrews were included in the order Primates by most authors; reevaluation in the late 1970s removed them from the primates and they were established as a separate order. Recent work indicates that this group is more closely related to primates than is any other mammal.

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