Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 620–626

Mitogenomic Analyses Place the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) on the Crocodile Tree and Provide Pre-K/T Divergence Times for Most Crocodilians

  • Axel Janke
  • Anette Gullberg
  • Sandrine Hughes
  • Ramesh K. Aggarwal
  • Ulfur Arnason
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-004-0336-9

Cite this article as:
Janke, A., Gullberg, A., Hughes, S. et al. J Mol Evol (2005) 61: 620. doi:10.1007/s00239-004-0336-9

Abstract

Based on morphological analyses, extant members of the order Crocodylia are divided into three families, Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, and Gavialidae. Gavialidae includes one species, the gharial, Gavialis gangeticus. In this study we have examined crocodilian relationships in phylogenetic analyses of seven mitochondrial genomes that have been sequenced in their entirety. The analyses did not support the morphologically acknowledged separate position of the gharial in the crocodilian tree. Instead the gharial joined the false gharial (Tomistomaschlegelii) on a common branch that was shown to constitute a sister group to traditional Crocodylidae (less Tomistoma). Thus, the analyses suggest the recognition of only two Crocodylia families, Alligatoridae and Crocodylidae, with the latter encompassing traditional Crocodylidae plus Gavialis/Tomistoma. A molecular dating of the divergence between Alligatoridae and Crocodylidae suggests that this basal split among recent crocodilians took place ≈140 million years before present, at the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary. The results suggest that at least five crocodilian lineages survived the mass extinction at the KT boundary.

Keywords

CrocodyliaMolecular datingMitochondrial DNAPhylogenyReptiles

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Janke
    • 1
  • Anette Gullberg
    • 1
  • Sandrine Hughes
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ramesh K. Aggarwal
    • 4
  • Ulfur Arnason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell and Organism Biology, Division of Evolutionary Molecular SystematicsUniversity of LundSweden
  2. 2.Centre de Génétique Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS UMR 5534Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1France
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Populations du Passé, CNRS UMR 5199 PACEAUniversité Bordeaux 1France
  4. 4.Centre for Cellular and Molecular BiologyHyderabadIndia