[Taxacom] Fw: Re: Primates (was: burn out)

Michael Heads michael.heads at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 22 23:53:20 CDT 2009

Dear colleagues,
The fossil primate phylogeny is very controversial and many authors have plesiadapiforms as a monophyletic clade sister to (eu)primates. This means the plesiadapiform/primate ancestor was not necessarily more like plesiadapiforms or like primates. The status of fossil 'tarsiiforms' is also very controversial and every possible arrangement of the main clades has been proposed. In welcome contrast, there is agreement on the molecular phylogeny of the living primates: the two main clades are haplorhines and strepsirrhines, with tarsiers (usually) in the first. Strepsirrhines have a snout and a rhinarium, like many (but not all) mammals. Most haplorhines don't have a snout and none have a rhinarium. The two clades are sister groups and haplorhines are not derived simply from strepsirrhines.   
Michael Heads   

Wellington, New Zealand.

My papers on biogeography are at the Buffalo Museum website: www.sciencebuff.org/research/current-research-activities/john-grehan/evolutionary-biography/panbiogeographic-publications/heads-publications/

--- On Thu, 4/23/09, Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net> wrote:

From: Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net>
Subject: [Taxacom] Primates (was: burn out)
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009, 3:01 PM

Hi All,
     Actually, we have a reasonably good idea what our primate ancestors
were like at various stages of our evolutionary line.  The primate
classification which I posted here on taxacom in December 2004 is given
below for reference.  I haven't had time to update it, but it gives a
good idea of the evolutionary stages our ancestors went through.  
       Before we entered the "monkey" stages, our ancestors went through
"tarsiiform" stages at the beginning of Suborder Haplorhini.
Tarsiiforms (a paraphyletic assemblage) are three successive clades
(Omomyidae/Microchoeridae; Tarsiidae; Afrotarsiidae), giving us an idea
what our "tarsioid" ancestors were like.  And before that our ancestors
went through several "plesiadapiform" stages (Suborder Proprimates).
Plesiadapoids (Plesiadapidae and Carpolestidae) are paraphyletic, as are
Microsyopoids (Palaechthonidae, Picrodontidae, and Microsyopidae).  
      The point is that there are lots of potential paraphyletic
assemblages in this classification, but I only formally recognize three
of the most important ones (Proprimates%, Pongidae%, Australopithecus%).
The alphanumeric coding shows the relationships without cluttering up
the classification with a lot of suboptimal paraphyletic taxa (or
suboptimal clade names either).  And just because a lot of these familes
are "dead" (extinct) doesn't make them irrelevant.  There is a lot of
good information in the "dead" Suborder Proprimates, whether you want to
look at the taxa as just successive clades only, or group some of them
as paraphyletic superfamilies.          
     As a consensus classification, it is meant to serve the needs of
both strict cladists and eclecticists.  And it obviously doesn't require
a lot of formal paraphyletic taxa.  We should be very selective what
formal paraphyletic taxa we recognize.  I just see no need to insist
that Family Pongidae (great apes) must include humans and
australopithecines.  Just make sure that the {{Hominidae}} exgroup
marker is in there to show how the 2 families are related cladistically.
Finally, we clearly have plesiadapiform and tarsiiform ancestors, but I
see no reason to say we ARE plesiadapiforms (or we ARE tarsiiforms).
Better to say that our ancestors WERE plesiadapiforms and tarsiiforms.

ORDER PRIMATES (sensu lato) 
  1 Proprimates% (plesiadapiforms)
        1 Purgatoriidae
        2 Plesion Pandemonium
        3 Micromomyidae
        4 Paromomyidae
        ? Picromomyidae
        5 Palaechthonidae
        6 Picrodontidae
        7 Microsyopidae
        8 Plesiadapidae
        9 Carpolestidae 
       10 {{Euprimates}} (= Strepsirhini + Haplorhini) 

 _1_ Strepsirhini
        1 Notharctidae
        2 Plesiopithecidae
        3 Galagonidae
        B Loridae
        4 Daubentoniidae
        5 Cheirogaleidae
        6 Megaladapidae
        7 Indriidae (sensu lato)
        8 Lemuridae 

  2 Haplorhini (tarsiforms & anthropoids)   
        1 Omomyidae 
        B Microchoeridae
        2 Tarsiidae
        3 Afrotarsiidae
        4 Eosimiidae
        5 Amphipithecidae
        B Parapithecidae
        C Atelidae
        D Cebidae
        6 Cercopithecidae
        7 Propliopithecidae
        8 Pliopithecidae
        9 Proconsulidae
        ? Oreopithecidae
       10 Hylobatidae
       11 Pongidae% (sensu lato)
               1 Dryopithecus
               ? Ouranopithecus
               2 Lufengpithecus
               B Sivapithecus
               C Khoratpithecus
               D Pongo
               3 Gorilla
               ? Samburupithecus
               4 Pan
               5 Sahelanthropus
               6 Orrorin
               B Ardipithecus
               7 {{Hominidae}}   

      _a_ Hominidae 
                1 Australopithecus% (sensu lato)
              _a_ Homo  

Richard wrote:
"Monkeys"? I don't think it is yet clear what we are descended from in
the hominiod line (unless it is a node). Maybe we are all descended from
nodes. Of course if we could identify a paraphyletic group somewhere in
the hominoid line, then we might have an idea of what at least one of
the ancestors of humans might look like : )


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