Flying lemurs are monkeys' uncle

Genomic study revises understanding of primate origins

Brendan Borrell
Oct 31, 2007
Treeshrews were once thought to be the closest relatives of primates, but a comparative genomic study published this week in Science shows that another mammal, the flying lemur, is the sister group to primates."The relationships between primates and other mammals has been unclear for quite some time," William Murphy of Texas A&M University, a coauthor on the study, told The Scientist. "Our study is the first one to resolve that, and we had to take a genome wide approach to do it."DNA and morphological studies have supported the view that primates are closely allied with treeshrews (Scandentia) and flying lemurs (Dermoptera), also called colugos, but precisely how the three groups are related has been strongly debated. Resolving these relationships is key to understanding the early transformations in primate evolution, but has been challenging because of rapid diversification in these groups and inadequate sampling.Jan Janecka at Texas A&M...

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