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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 Feb;46(2):683-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.11.026. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of langurs and leaf monkeys of South Asia (Primates: Colobinae).

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  • 1Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


The two recently proposed taxonomies of the langurs and leaf monkeys (Subfamily Colobinae) provide different implications to our understanding of the evolution of Nilgiri and purple-faced langurs. Groves (2001) [Groves, C.P., 2001. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington], placed Nilgiri and purple-faced langurs in the genus Trachypithecus, thereby suggesting disjunct distribution of the genus Trachypithecus. [Brandon-Jones, D., Eudey, A.A., Geissmann, T., Groves, C.P., Melnick, D.J., Morales, J.C., Shekelle, M., Stewart, C.-B., 2003. Asian primate classification. Int. J. Primatol. 25, 97-162] placed these langurs in the genus Semnopithecus, which suggests convergence of morphological characters in Nilgiri and purple-faced langurs with Trachypithecus. To test these scenarios, we sequenced and analyzed the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and two nuclear DNA-encoded genes, lysozyme and protamine P1, from a variety of colobine species. All three markers support the clustering of Nilgiri and purple-faced langurs with Hanuman langur (Semnopithecus), while leaf monkeys of Southeast Asian (Trachypithecus) form a distinct clade. The phylogenetic position of capped and golden leaf monkeys is still unresolved. It is likely that this species group might have evolved due to past hybridization between Semnopithecus and Trachypithecus clades.

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