Figure 1. Idealized distribution map of the ten odd-nosed monkey species in South-east Asia.
Hatched and blue lines indicate country borders and major rivers, and the Hengduan Mountain range as presumed center of origin is depicted as dashed circle. Abbreviations used in the figure: Rro = R. roxellana, Rbi = R. bieti, Rst = R. strykeri, Rbr = R. brelichi, Rav = R. avunculus, Pne = P. nemaeus, Pci = P. cinerea, Pni = P. nigripes, Sco = S. concolor, and Nla = N. larvatus, CN = China, KH = Cambodia, LA = Laos, MM = Myanmar, VN = Vietnam. A and B refer to the distribution of main haplogroups of R. bieti and P. cinerea, respectively. Illustrations by Stephen Nash, Conservation International.
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.
Asian primate evolution livened up by an odd-nosed monkey | @EarthTimes
Genetic study sheds light on evolution and may help prevent extinction of the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey
Liedigk R, Yang M, Jablonski NG, Momberg F, Geissmann T, et al. (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. DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0037418