The anatomy of Dolichocebus gaimanensis, a stem platyrrhine monkey from Argentina.
Dolichocebus is known from the type skull encased in a concretion, numerous isolated teeth, parts of two mandibles, and a talus. The specimens come from the Trelew Member (early Miocene, Colhuehuapian South American Land Mammal Age) of the Sarmiento Formation near the village of Gaiman, Chubut Province, Argentina, dated to about 20Ma. We describe all Dolichocebus fossil material using conventional surface anatomy and micro-CT data from the cranium. The new material and newly imaged internal anatomy of the skull demonstrate that anatomical characters hitherto supposed to support a phyletic link between Dolichocebus and either callitrichines (marmosets, tamarins, and Callimico) or Saimiri (squirrel monkeys) are either indeterminate or absent. To more fully explore the phyletic position of Dolichocebus, we undertook a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis. We examined 268 characters of the cranium and dentition of 16 living platyrrhine genera, some late Oligocene and early Miocene platyrrhines, Tarsius, some Eocene and Oligocene stem anthropoids, and several extant catarrhines. These analyses consistently indicate that Dolichocebus is a stem platyrrhine, as are late Oligocene Branisella and early Miocene Tremacebus, Soriacebus, and Carlocebus. Platyrrhine evolution often is conceived of as a single ancient adaptive radiation. Review of all available phyolgenetic data suggests a more layered evolutionary pattern, with several independent extinct clades filling modern platyrrhine niche space, and modern platyrrhine families and subfamilies appearing over a nine-million-year interval in the Miocene. The outcome of these analyses highlights the pervasiveness of homoplasy in dental and cranial characters. Homoplasy is a real evolutionary phenomenon that is present at all levels of biological analysis, from amino-acid sequences to aspects of adult bony morphology, behavior, and adaptation.
Kay, RF; Fleagle, JG; Mitchell, TRT; Colbert, M; Bown, T; Powers, DW
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