• Traditional classifications of mammals are based on similarities in structure and function.
  • Increasingly, mammals are being classified on the basis of molecular similarities.
  • The most widely accepted traditional classification of mammals divides living placental mammals into 17 orders.
  • DNA analyses have shown that the traditional orders include mammals that may not be closely related.
  • The mammalian supertree classifies mammals phylogenetically.
  • It uses the analysis of DNA sequences to group together mammals that are evolutionarily closely related, sharing a recent common ancestor.
  • Explain which type of classification is more useful for understanding how mammals evolved.
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