Phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among New World monkeys (Platyrrhini, Primates)

Juan C. Opazo, Derek E. Wildman, Tom Prychitko, Robert M. Johnson, Morris Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orthologous sequences of six nuclear genes were obtained for all recognized genera of New World monkeys (Primates: Platyrrhini) and outgroups to evaluate the phylogenetic relationships and to estimate divergence times. Phylogenetic relationships were reconstructed by maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian approaches. All methods resolved with 100% branch support genus-level relationships, except for the grouping of Aotus as a sister taxa of Cebus and Saimiri, which was supported by low bootstrap percentages and posterior probability. All approaches depict three monophyletic New World monkey families: Atelidae, Cebidae, and Pitheciidae; also within each family, all approaches depict the same branching topology. However, the approaches differ in depicting the relationships of the three families to one another. Maximum parsimony depicts the Atelidae and Cebidae as sister families next joined by the Pitheciidae. Conversely, likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic trees group families Atelidae and Pitheciidae together to the exclusion of Cebidae. Divergence time estimations using both local molecular clock and Bayesian approaches suggest the families diverged from one another over a short period of geological time in the late Oligocene-early Miocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Divergence times
  • New World monkeys
  • Phylogeny
  • South America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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