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Phylogeny and Biogeography of Gibbons: A Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis

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Phylogenetic relationships within Hylobatidae are controversial. Numerous studies based on molecular, morphological and behavioral characteristics have provided conflicting results. I reanalyzed published cytochrome b gene sequence data to provide a new estimate of gibbon phylogeny. My results indicate that Nomascus, Symphalangus and Hoolock are successively more closely related to Hylobates. Molecular clock analyses provide estimates of divergence times within Hylobatidae, indicating that the radiation dates to ca. 10.5 million years ago. Scientists have little understanding of the biogeographic history of gibbons, largely because of a sparse fossil record. I combined the estimate of gibbon phylogeny with distribution data in a dispersal-vicariance analysis and present a new scenario for the pattern and timing of gibbon radiation.

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I thank Adrian Lister for his constructive comments on early versions of the manuscript and several useful discussions. I also thank Marcello Ruta, Leslie Aiello, and Mark Thomas. I especially thank Ian Barnes for comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Helen J. Chatterjee.

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Chatterjee, H.J. Phylogeny and Biogeography of Gibbons: A Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis. Int J Primatol 27, 699–712 (2006).

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