A multilocus phylogeny reveals deep lineages within African galagids (Primates: Galagidae)

Luca Pozzi, Todd R. Disotell, Judith C. Masters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Bushbabies (Galagidae) are among the most morphologically cryptic of all primates and their diversity and relationships are some of the most longstanding problems in primatology. Our knowledge of galagid evolutionary history has been limited by a lack of appropriate molecular data and a paucity of fossils. Most phylogenetic studies have produced conflicting results for many clades, and even the relationships among genera remain uncertain. To clarify galagid evolutionary history, we assembled the largest molecular dataset for galagos to date by sequencing 27 independent loci. We inferred phylogenetic relationships using concatenated maximum-likelihood and Bayesian analyses, and also coalescent-based species tree methods to account for gene tree heterogeneity due to incomplete lineage sorting. Results: The genus Euoticus was identified as sister taxon to the rest of the galagids and the genus Galagoides was not recovered as monophyletic, suggesting that a new generic name for the Zanzibar complex is required. Despite the amount of genetic data collected in this study, the monophyly of the family Lorisidae remained poorly supported, probably due to the short internode between the Lorisidae/Galagidae split and the origin of the African and Asian lorisid clades. One major result was the relatively old origin for the most recent common ancestor of all living galagids soon after the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Conclusions: Using a multilocus approach, our results suggest an early origin for the crown Galagidae, soon after the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, making Euoticus one of the oldest lineages within extant Primates. This result also implies that one-or possibly more-stem radiations diverged in the Late Eocene and persisted for several million years alongside members of the crown group.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number72
    JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Apr 2 2014


    • Concatenation
    • Divergence times
    • Eocene-Oligocene boundary
    • Lorisoidea
    • Nuclear DNA
    • Species tree
    • Strepsirhini

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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