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  • Macroevolutionary dynamics and historical biogeography of primate diversification inferred from a species supermatrix

    Springer, Mark S.; Meredith, Robert W.; Gatesy, John; Emerling, Christopher A.; Park, Jong; Rabosky, Daniel L.; Stadler, Tanja; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Janečka, Jan E.; et al. (2012)
    Phylogenetic relationships, divergence times, and patterns of biogeographic descent among primate species are both complex and contentious. Here, we generate a robust molecular phylogeny for 70 primate genera and 367 primate species based on a concatenation of 69 nuclear gene segments and ten mitochondrial gene sequences, most of which were extracted from GenBank. Relaxed clock analyses of divergence times with 14 fossil-calibrated nodes suggest that living Primates last shared a common ancestor 71–63 Ma, and that divergences within both Strepsirrhini and Haplorhini are entirely post-Cretaceous. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs played an important role in the diversification of placental mammals. Previous queries into primate historical biogeography have suggested Africa, Asia, Europe, or North America as the ancestral area of crown primates, but were based on methods that were coopted from phylogeny reconstruction. By contrast, we analyzed our molecular phylogeny with two methods that were developed explicitly for ancestral area reconstruction, and find support for the hypothesis that the most recent common ancestor of living Primates resided in Asia. Analyses of primate macroevolutionary dynamics provide support for a diversification rate increase in the late Miocene, possibly in response to elevated global mean temperatures, and are consistent with the fossil record. By contrast, diversification analyses failed to detect evidence for rate-shift changes near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary even though the fossil record provides clear evidence for a major turnover event (“Grande Coupure”) at this time. Our results highlight the power and limitations of inferring diversification dynamics from molecular phylogenies, as well as the sensitivity of diversification analyses to different species concepts.
  • Initial sequence characterization of the rhabdoviruses of squamate reptiles including a novel rhabdovirus from a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis)

    Wellehan, J.F.X.; Pessier, Allan P.; Archer, L.; Childress, A.; Jacobson, E.R.; Tesh, R.B. (2012)
    Rhabdoviruses infect a variety of hosts, including non-avian reptiles. Consensus PCR techniques were used to obtain partial RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene sequence from five rhabdoviruses of South American lizards; Marco, Chaco, Timbo, Sena Madureira, and a rhabdovirus from a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis….
  • Long-term lemur research at Centre Valbio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

    Wright, P.C.; Erhart, E.M.; Tecot, S.; Baden, A.L.; Arrigo-Nelson, S.J.; Herrera, J.; Morelli, T.L.; Blanco, M.B.; Deppe, A.; Atsalis, Sylvia; et al. (Springer-VerlagBerlin, Heidelberg, 2012)
    We present findings from 25 years of studying 13 species of sympatric primates at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Long-term studies have revealed that lemur demography at Ranomafana is impacted by climate change, predation from raptors, carnivores, and snakes, as well as habitat disturbance....
  • Activation of southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) estrogen receptors by phytoestrogens: Potential role in the reproductive failure of captive-born females?

    Tubbs, Christopher W.; Hartig, P.; Cardon, M.; Varga, Nicole; Milnes, Matthew R. (2012)
    The captive southern white rhinoceros (SWR; Ceratotherium simum simum) population serves as an important genetic reservoir critical to the conservation of this vulnerable species. Unfortunately, captive populations are declining due to the poor reproductive success of captive-born females....
  • Reproductive competition and fecal testosterone in wild male giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

    Nie, Yonggang; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Zhang, Zejun; Liu, Xiaobin; Wei, Fuwen (2012)
    ...Using global positioning system/very high frequency radiocollars to locate mating aggregations, we used behavioral observations and fecal testosterone assays to gain insight into male panda reproductive effort and strategies, and test theories relating to reproductive competition. Male pandas initially competed fiercely for access to females that were about to be fertile, but once male competitive status was determined, aggression rates declined....

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