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Molecular Panbiogeography of the Tropics$
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Michael Heads

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520271968

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520271968.001.0001

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Evolution and Biogeography of Primates: A New Model Based on Molecular Phylogenetics, Vicariance, and Plate Tectonics

Evolution and Biogeography of Primates: A New Model Based on Molecular Phylogenetics, Vicariance, and Plate Tectonics

Chapter:
(p.101) 3 Evolution and Biogeography of Primates: A New Model Based on Molecular Phylogenetics, Vicariance, and Plate Tectonics
Source:
Molecular Panbiogeography of the Tropics
Author(s):

Michael Heads

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520271968.003.0003

A new model of primate evolution is presented, based on recent molecular phylogenies of the group. The phylogenetic and geographic breaks at the Atlantic Ocean (isolating New World monkeys) and at Mozambique Channel (isolating lemurs on Madagascar) are attributed to tectonic rifting and vicariance in the Mesozoic. Oldest fossils place the origin of primates in the Paleogene, while fossil-calibrated molecular clocks estimate a Cretaceous age for the group. The model proposed here suggests a Jurassic age for primates and does not require any chance, transoceanic dispersal. Dispersal models have never agreed on the center of origin for primates. In this new model there is no restricted center of origin; instead, the primates evolved as the southern vicariant of a northern fossil group, the plesiadapiforms.

Keywords:   New World monkeys, lemurs, Madagascar, plesiadapiform, rifting, Paleogene, Cretaceous, Jurassic, transoceanic dispersal

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