Interrelationships among primate higher taxa

K C Beard, M Dagosto, D L Gebo, M Godinot
Nature 1988 February 25, 331 (6158): 712-4
One of the most controversial issues in primate palaeontology concerns the phylogenetic position of the extinct primate infraorder Adapiformes. During the Eocene, this group of primates of modern aspect possessed a holarctic distribution, and may have been present in the poorly known Palaeogene of Africa. Mainly on the basis of craniodental morphology, at least four hypotheses have been proposed concerning the phylogenetic interrelationships among adapiforms and other primate higher taxa: (1) that adapiforms are ancestral to both lemuriforms (including Lorisoidea) and anthropoids; (2) that adapiforms cannot be shown to possess a special phylogenetic relationship with either lemuriforms or anthropoids; (3) that adapiforms are the sister taxon of lemuriforms; and (4) that Adapiformes is not a natural, monophyletic group, but rather consists of nested clades within the radiation of lemuriforms. Here, we describe features of the ankle and wrist joints of several adapiform taxa that provide an independent test of the preceding hypotheses. These traits suggest that lemuriforms are monophyletic with respect to known adapiforms, but that adapiforms nevertheless are their stem lineage (sensu Ax).

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