Liedigk, R., Yang, M., Jablonski, N. G., Momberg, F., Geissmann, T., Ngwe Lwin, Htin Hla, T., Liu, Z., Wong, B., Li, M., Long, Y., Zhang, Y.-P., Nadler, T., Zinner, D., Roos, C. (2012). Evolutionary history of the odd-nosed monkeys and the phylogenetic position of the newly described Myanmar snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri. PLoS ONE 7 (5): e37418, 9 pp.

Evolutionary history of the odd-nosed monkeys and the phylogenetic position of the newly described Myanmar snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri

Rasmus Liedigk1, Mouyu Yang1,2, Nina G. Jablonski3, Frank Momberg4, Thomas Geissmann5,
Ngwe Lwin6, Tony Htin Hla6, Zhijin Liu1,7, Bruce Wong7, Li Ming7, Long Yongcheng8, Ya-Ping Zhang9, Tilo Nadler10, Dietmar Zinner11, Christian Roos1,12

1 Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany,
2 Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, Jiangkou, Guizhou Province, China,
3 Department of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States of America,
4 Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Myanmar Programme, Yangon, Myanmar,
5 Anthropological Institute, University Zürich-Irchel, Zürich, Switzerland,
6 Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), Yangon, Myanmar,
7 Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China,
8 The Nature Conservancy, Kunming, China,
9 Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China,
10 Frankfurt Zoological Society, Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam,
11 Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany,
12 Gene Bank of Primates, German Primate Center, Gö̈ttingen, Germany

Abstract: Odd-nosed monkeys represent one of the two major groups of Asian colobines. Our knowledge about this primate group is still limited as it is highlighted by the recent discovery of a new species in Northern Myanmar. Although a common origin of the group is now widely accepted, the phylogenetic relationships among its genera and species, and the biogeographic processes leading to their current distribution are largely unknown. To address these issues, we have analyzed complete mitochondrial genomes and 12 nuclear loci, including one X chromosomal, six Y chromosomal and five autosomal loci, from all ten odd-nosed monkey species. The gene tree topologies and divergence age estimates derived from different markers were highly similar, but differed in placing various species or haplogroups within the genera Rhinopithecus and Pygathrix. Based on our data, Rhinopithecus represent the most basal lineage, and Nasalis and Simias form closely related sister taxa, suggesting a Northern origin of odd-nosed monkeys and a later invasion into Indochina and Sundaland. According to our divergence age estimates, the lineages leading to the genera Rhinopithecus, Pygathrix and Nasalis+Simias originated in the late Miocene, while differentiation events within these genera and also the split between Nasalis and Simias occurred in the Pleistocene. Observed gene tree discordances between mitochondrial and nuclear datasets, and paraphylies in the mitochondrial dataset for some species of the genera Rhinopithecus and Pygathrix suggest secondary gene flow after the taxa initially diverged. Most likely such events were triggered by dramatic changes in geology and climate within the region. Overall, our study provides the most comprehensive view on odd-nosed monkey evolution and emphasizes that data from differentially inherited markers are crucial to better understand evolutionary relationships and to trace secondary gene flow.

Site by Thomas Geissmann.
For comments & suggestions, please email to
Gibbon Research
Lab. Home: