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A contribution to the classification and phylogeny of the marten (subgenus Martes Pinel) of North America Hagmeier, Edwin Moyer

Abstract

Statistical study of 418 marten skulls gives evidence for the subspecific status of brumalis, americana, actuosa, caurina and nesophila. Abietinoides is probably separable from americana. Vancouverensis, caurina and origenes cannot however be separated. Geographic distribution of the latter three suggests that for the time being their status should not be changed. Only one species occurs in North America, according to the unpublished work of Wright. This is divided into two groups, referable to the formerly conceived species americana and caurina. The genus Martes arose in the lower Pliocene and segregated into the subgenera of martens and fisher during the Pliocene. The americana group preceded caurina to North America, both arriving sometime before the Kansan. Between the Kansan and the Illinoian the americana group divided into two branches, and by the Wisconsin or earlier, origenes had separated from caurina. During the Wisconsin ice advance marten found refuge in four regions: the lake states, the Rocky Mountains, the Coast Range and Alaska. Repopulation of North America with the ice retreat occurred from these refugia, during which time or later final subspeciation took place.

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