Commonly included in the Insectivora (as in the last edition; Hutterer, 1993a) or Lipotyphla, but provisonally treated here as a separate order because of accumulating evidence for the paraphyletic nature of the former Insectivora clade (Asher, 1999, 2001; Stanhope et al., 1998). Various genetic studies (Emerson et al., 1999; Liu et al., 2001; Malia et al., 2002; Mouchaty et al., 2000a, b; Nikaido et al., 2001) demonstrated that soricomophs and hedgehogs, sometimes also moles, keep distant positions in phylogenetic trees. Such results are reflected by ideas earlier expressed by Butler (1988) and McKenna (1975), and are corroborated by the careful study of fossil and extant zalambdodont mammals by Asher et al. (2002). The name Soricomorpha was proposed by Gregory (1910) and has since been widely used in the paleontological literature. It is adopted here in the sense of McKenna (1975) and Butler (1988). MacPhee and Novacek (1993) used it as a name for a suborder of Lipotyphla of unresolved relationships to other clades such as erinaceomorphs (now Erinaceomorpha) and chrysochloromorphs (now Tenrecomorpha or Afrosoricida). The results of Stanhope et al. (1998) offer weak support for a relationship between "mole, shrew and solenodon", e.g., Soricomorpha in the sense applied here. Other authors, however, suggest that even this clade may be polyphyletic. Malia et al. (2003) constructed a consensus tree for a set of 47 mammalian taxa including Sorex, Talpa, Scalopus, and Erinaceus. The shrews clustered with the bats, while the two moles and the hedgehog formed a separate trichotomy. Corneli (2002), who compared complete mitochondrial genomes, found that moles sister shrews and that hedgehogs are distantly related to both, which is in accordance with the Soricomorpha/Erinaceomorpha concept adopted here. Lin et al. (2002a) studied four mitochondrial genomes and found some support for a mole-shrew-hedgehog clade. Waddell et al. (1999) called this group Eulipotyphla. A further problem is the allocation of Solenodon and Nesophontes. Emerson et al. (1999) compared a 12 S rRNA sequence of Solenodon with various mammals and in a strict consensus tree placed the genus next to myomorph rodents. On the other hand, Asher (1999), Whidden and Asher (2001), and Asher et al. (2002) discussed possible relationships of Nesophontes and Solenodon to tenrecomorphs. At this stage there exist many conflicting views and no consistent phylogeny of the members of the former Insectivora.
Soricomorpha in the present sense were reviewed by Cabrera (1925). Van Valen (1967) treated the phylogeny of many living and fossil insectivores. Grenyer and Purvis (2003) used the available phylogenetic literature to construct a supertree. Basic data on brain structure and evolution were presented by Stephan et al. (1991). For a synopsis of karyotype data see Reumer and Meylan (1986).