Ferae is a clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 of mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, consisting of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

s Carnivora
The diverse order Carnivora |Latin]] carō "flesh", + vorāre "to devour") includes over 260 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, while the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating animal...

 (over 260 species, across the globe) and Pholidota (8 species of pangolin in tropical Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

). Pangolin
A pangolin , also scaly anteater or Trenggiling, is a mammal of the order Pholidota. There is only one extant family and one genus of pangolins, comprising eight species. There are also a number of extinct taxa. Pangolins have large keratin scales covering their skin and are the only mammals with...

s do not look much like carnivorans (wolves, cats, seals, and so on), and were thought to be the closest relatives of Xenarthra
The superorder Xenarthra is a group of placental mammals , existent today only in the Americas and represented by anteaters, tree sloths, and armadillos. The origins of the order can be traced back as far as the Paleogene in South America...

 (armadillos, sloths, and so on). But recent DNA research found the close relationship to carnivorans. Ferae also includes Creodonta
The creodonts are an extinct order of mammals that lived from the Paleocene to the Miocene epochs. They shared a common ancestor with the Carnivora....

, extinct primitive carnivoran-like mammals. Several extinct orders, relatives of Pholidota, are members of Ferae as well. These orders are sometimes united with the Pholidota in one, large order, Cimolesta
Cimolesta is an extinct order of mammals. A few experts place the pangolins within Cimolesta, though most other experts prefer to place the pangolins within their own order, Pholidota....

. An alternate name, Ostentoria, has also been proposed for a grouping of Carnivora and Pholidota.

According to recent studies (reflected in the diagram below), the closest relatives of Ferae are Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs and rhinos) and Cetartiodactyla
Cetartiodactyla is the clade in which whales and even-toed ungulates have currently been placed. The term was coined by merging the name for the two orders, Cetacea and Artiodactyla, into a single word. The term Cetartiodactyla reflects the idea that whales evolved within the artiodactyls...

 (which combines Artiodactyla--camels, pigs, ruminants and hippos—with Cetacea
The order Cetacea includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetus is Latin and is used in biological names to mean "whale"; its original meaning, "large sea animal", was more general. It comes from Ancient Greek , meaning "whale" or "any huge fish or sea...

--whales and dolphins). An alternate phylogeny (less supported) holds that the closest relatives to Ferae are Perissodactyla and Chiroptera (bats), not Cetartiodactyla. Ferae together with Perissodactyla has been called Zooamata
Zooamata is a proposed clade of mammals consisting of Ferae and Perissodactyla . Together with Cetartiodactyla and chiroptera it forms Scrotifera , and is part of Laurasiatheria...

. Ferae, Perissodactyla, and Chiroptera together has been called Pegasoferae
Pegasoferae is a proposed clade of mammals based on genomic research in molecular systematics by Nishihara, Hasegawa and Okada .To the surprise of the authors, their data led them to propose a clade that includes bats , carnivores such as cats and dogs , horses and other odd-toed ungulates and...

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