Phylogenetic Affinities Among the Extant Malagasy Lemurs (Lemuriformes) Based on Morphology and Behavior
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- Stanger-Hall, K.F. Journal of Mammalian Evolution (1997) 4: 163. doi:10.1023/A:1027345624734
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The difficulty in achieving a consensus on the phylogenetic relationships of lemuriform primates has been due largely to the lack of a lemur fossil record and to the lack of an appropriate outgroup that would facilitate polarization of character states. Recent findings allow us to polarize some of the bony characters, but to a large extent this problem still remains. In the past, phylogenetic analyses have focused on specialized character sets such as dentition or basicranial traits, or they have employed differential weighting schemes to a more variable set of characters. In the analysis presented here, I combined all relevant characters available in the literature into one data set but restricted my selection to those traits having discontinuous states and for which no contradictory coding schemes were published. I reduced the assumptions in this analysis by removing most external weighting and ordering effects on these data sets. The available data from the literature were supplemented with data from my own observations at the Duke University Primate Center. Data were collected for 25 characters and 20 taxa and were submitted to a cladistic analysis. Some important findings from this study include support for (1) a sister-group relationship between Lepilemur and the Indridae, (2) a sister-group relationship between the Lemuridae (except Varecia) and the Indridae/Lepilemur clade, (3) a monophyletic genus Eulemur, and (4) the exclusion of Varecia from the Lemuridae.