The family Phocidae is the oldest of the modern day pinnipeds, with the oldest fossil phocid reported from the late Oligocene or about 25-30 million years ago. The current pho-cids originated in the North Atlantic and consists of two subfamilies, the Monachinae and the Phocinae. The Phocinae contains five genera and the Monchinae six genera. The pho-cids along with the other two families of current pinnipeds, the otariids (fur seals and sea lions) and odobenids (walrus), appear to have evolved from a single lineage of either a bearlike, otter-like, or raccoon-like ancestor. Most evidence points toward bear or otter-like ancestry but there is conflicting evidence.
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