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J Hum Evol. 1999 Jan;36(1):33-68.

The quaternary cuban platyrrhine Paralouatta varonai and the origin of Antillean monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, 10024-5192, USA.


We describe recently recovered dental and mandibular remains of the Cuban platyrrhine Paralouatta varonai, previously known from the holotype only (a nearly complete skull with very worn teeth). We also expand on the original description of the type specimen. Paralouatta is one of three extinct taxa of Greater Antillean Quaternary monkeys known from craniodental remains. The other two, Xenothrix mcgregori and Antillothrix bernensis, occurred in Jamaica and Hispaniola, respectively. It has been common practice to assume that Antillean monkeys were more closely related to individual mainland taxa than to each other. Thus, P. varonai was thought to be related to Alouatta; Antillothrix bernensis to Saimiri or Cebus; and X. mcgregori to Callicebus, or to callitrichines, or even to be of unknown affinity. With the discovery of well-preserved dental remains of Paralouatta, it can now be ascertained that this species was in fact very different from Alouatta. Cladistic analysis reveals a sister-group relationship between Antillothrix and Paralouatta, followed on the cladogram by Xenothrix and Callicebus (last taxon being the closest mainlaind relative of the Antillean clade). This conclusion has an important biogeographic implication: recognition of an Antillean clade, as advocated here, assumes only one primate colonization from the South American mainland, not several as previously believed.

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