[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primates are among the most broadly studied mammalian orders, with the published literature containing extensive analyses of their behavior, physiology, genetics and ecology. The importance of this group in medical and biological research is well appreciated, and explains the numerous molecular phylogenies that have been proposed for most primate families and genera. Composite estimates for the entire order have been infrequently attempted, with the last phylogenetic reconstruction spanning the full range of primate evolutionary relationships having been conducted over a decade ago.
To estimate the structure and tempo of primate evolutionary history, we employed Bayesian phylogenetic methods to analyze data supermatrices comprising 7 mitochondrial genes (6,138 nucleotides) from 219 species across 67 genera and 3 nuclear genes (2,157 nucleotides) from 26 genera. Many taxa were only partially represented, with an average of 3.95 and 5.43 mitochondrial genes per species and per genus, respectively, and 2.23 nuclear genes per genus. Our analyses of mitochondrial DNA place Tarsiiformes as the sister group of Strepsirrhini. Within Haplorrhini, we find support for the primary divergence of Pitheciidae in Platyrrhini, and our results suggest a sister grouping of African and non-African colobines within Colobinae and of Cercopithecini and Papionini within Cercopthecinae. Date estimates for nodes within each family and genus are presented, with estimates for key splits including: Strepsirrhini-Haplorrhini 64 million years ago (MYA), Lemuriformes-Lorisiformes 52 MYA, Platyrrhini-Catarrhini 43 MYA and Cercopithecoidea-Hominoidea 29 MYA.
We present an up-to-date, comprehensive estimate of the structure and tempo of primate evolutionary history. Although considerable gaps remain in our knowledge of the primate phylogeny, increased data sampling, particularly from nuclear loci, will be able to provide further resolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The species Proconsul (Xenopithecus) hamiltoni was based on two weathered molars in a maxillary fragment from the Erageleit beds, Lothidok, Turkana District, Kenya. New fossils from Lothidok show a unique suite of features indicating generic distinction of this taxon from other known large early catarrhines. A new generic diagnosis is given. The new genus, although still poorly known, may be the first Oligocene hominoid from East Africa. It retains many primitive features, but the few derived ones hint that it may be related to the Afropithecus group.
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