Publication Date: 2013.
The estimation of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among a group of organisms is a fundamental first step toward understanding its biological diversification. The time of the most recent or last common ancestor (LCA) of extant platyrrhines is one of the most controversial among scholars of primate evolution. Here we use two molecular based approaches to date the initial divergence of the platyrrhine clade, Bayesian estimations under a relaxed-clock model and substitution rate plus generation time and body size, employing the fossil record and genome datasets. We also explore the robustness of our estimations with respect to changes in topology, fossil constraints and substitution rate, and discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the platyrrhine radiation. Our results suggest that fossil constraints, topology and substitution rate have an important influence on our divergence time estimates. Bayesian estimates using conservative but realistic fossil constraints suggest that the LCA of extant platyrrhines existed at ca. 29 Ma, with the 95% confidence limit for the node ranging from 27–31 Ma. The LCA of extant platyrrhine monkeys based on substitution rate corrected by generation time and body size was established between 21–29 Ma. The estimates based on the two approaches used in this study recalibrate the ages of the major platyrrhine clades and corroborate the hypothesis that they constitute very old lineages. These results can help reconcile several controversial points concerning the affinities of key early Miocene fossils that have arisen among paleontologists and molecular systematists. However, they cannot resolve the controversy of whether these fossil species truly belong to the extant lineages or to a stem platyrrhine clade. That question can only be resolved by morphology. Finally, we show that the use of different approaches and well supported fossil information gives a more robust divergence time estimate of a clade.
Author affiliation: Perez, Sergio Ivan. Universidad Nacional de la Plata. Facultad de Cs.naturales y Museo. Departamento Cientifico de Antropologia;
Author affiliation: Tejedor, Marcelo Fabian. Consejo Nacional de Invest.cientif.y Tecnicas. Centro Nacional Patagonico;
Author affiliation: Novo, Nelson Martin. Consejo Nacional de Invest.cientif.y Tecnicas. Centro Nacional Patagonico;
Author affiliation: Arístide, Leandro. Universidad Nacional de la Plata. Facultad de Cs.naturales y Museo. Departamento Cientifico de Antropologia;
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas