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Am J Primatol. 2001 May;54(1):33-40.

Phylogeny of lion tamarins (Leontopithecus spp) based on interphotoreceptor retinol binding protein intron sequences.

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Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


The evolutionary relationships of the lion tamarins (Leontopithecus) were investigated using nuclear interphotoreceptor retinol binding protein (IRBP) intron sequences. Phylogenetic reconstructions strongly support the monophyly of the genus, and a sister relationship between the golden lion tamarin, Leontopithecus rosalia, and the black lion tamarin, L. chrysopygus, to the exclusion of the golden-headed lion tamarin, L. chrysomelas. The most parsimonious evolutionary reconstruction suggests that the ancestral lion tamarin and the common ancestor of L. rosalia and L. chrysopygus had predominantly black coats. This reconstruction is not consistent with a theory of orthogenetic evolution of coat color that was based on coat color evolution in marmosets and tamarins. An alternative reconstruction that is consistent with metachromism requires that ancestral lion tamarins had agouti hairs.

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