Evolution and taxonomy of the wild species of the genus Ovis (Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Bovidae)

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54(2):315-26 · November 2009 


New insights for the systematic and evolution of the wild sheep are provided by molecular phylogenies inferred from Maximum parsimony, Bayesian, Maximum likelihood, and Neighbor-Joining methods. The phylogeny of the wild sheep was based on cytochrome b sequences of 290 samples representative of most of the sub-species described in the genus Ovis. The result was confirmed by a combined tree based on cytochrome b and nuclear sequences for 79 Ovis samples representative of the robust clades established with mitochondrial data. Urial and mouflon, which are either considered as a single or two separate species, form two monophyletic groups (O. orientalis and O. vignei). Their hybrids appear in one or the other group, independently from their geographic origin. The European mouflon O. musimon is clearly in the O. orientalis clade. The others species, O. dalli, O. canadensis, O. nivicola, and O. ammon are monophyletic. The results support an Asiatic origin of the genus Ovis, followed by a migration to North America through North-Eastern Asia and the Bering Strait and a diversification of the genus in Eurasia less than 3 million years ago. Our results show that the evolution of the genus Ovis is a striking example of successive speciation events occurring along the migration routes propagating from the ancestral area.


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Samstag, 02 März 2019 22:37

COTTERILL, F. P. D. (2003)

Insights into the taxonomy of tsessebe antelopes, Damaliscus lunatus (Bovidae: Alcelaphini) in south-central Africa: with the description of a new evolutionary species.

Durban Museum Novitates 28: 11-30.


This paper reviews the taxonomy of selected African alcelaphine antelopes affiliated with Damaliscus lunatus, with a focus on the tsessebes D. l. lunatus, of south-central Africa and east African nyamera D. l. jimela. Of a total of 244 specimens examined, morphological variation of 219 specimens of Damaliscus from south-central and east Africa was analysed; these represent populations in northeastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, northeast Zambia and east Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). Multivariate statistical analyses of skull measurements were complemented by comparisons of pelage colouration. These character analyses discerned two populational lineages of tsessebes. These being D. lunatus (central Zimbabwe, Botswana and southern Africa), and the Bangweulu tsessebe in northeast Zambia. The latter is described as a new evolutionary species, D. superstes. This provisional analysis of the diversity of Damaliscus unequivocally distinguished two clades - the lunatus complex (comprising all south-central African tsessebes) from the korrigum complex (populations in east, west, and north Africa). These insights into morphological diversity of Damaliscus clearly endorses a revision for the genus, as errors weaken the time-honoured taxonomy. It is argued that the Evolutionary Species Concept (ESC) is superior to the Biological Species Concept (BSC) in characterizing the diversity of these antelopes precisely and accurately. A revised taxonomy has significant implications for the management of these antelopes.


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Donnerstag, 07 Februar 2019 16:20


The taxonomic status, distribution and conservation of the lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis and mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi.

Mammal Review. 35 (1): 25 - 50.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2005.00048.x


The anoas are two species of dwarf buffalo, the lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis and mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi that are endemic to the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The classification of the subgenus Anoa within Bubalus is upheld by assessment of recent genetic and morphological research. The classification of anoas into two species is still debated, but with the absence of significant opposing evidence, this position is adopted here. 2. Information about the distribution of the two species is presented that adds to but largely supports existing reports. However, it is still uncertain whether the two putative species are sympatric or parapatric in their distribution. A review of anoa distribution from historical reports and recent field data (1990s to 2002) highlights their decline throughout Sulawesi, especially in the southern and north-eastern peninsulas. The decline has been attributed to local hunting for meat and habitat loss. Most populations are rapidly becoming fragmented, suggesting that the conservation of viable populations may eventually require management of metapopulations. 3. There is an urgent requirement for conservation efforts to: (i) protect anoas from hunting; (ii) prevent habitat loss in key sites; (iii) complete genetic studies to better determine the number of anoa taxa and Management Units and assess their distribution; and (iv) determine the status of the remaining anoa populations.


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Evidence of two genetically deeply divergent species of warthog, Phacochoerus africanus and P. aethiopicus (Artiodactyla: Suiformes) in East Africa.

Mammalian Biology 67 (2): 91-96.


Two species of warthogs (Phacochoerus), differing by the number of functional incisors, were described in the Holocene fossil record: the common warthog (P. africanus), widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Cape, or desert warthog (P. aethiopicus), which was considered extinct since 1896, but was recently rediscovered in East Africa by morphological analyses. Mitochondrial and single-copy nuclear DNA sequences show that common and desert warthogs belong to two deeply divergent monophyletic lineages, that might have originated in the last part of the Pliocene. The finding of two genetically divergent extant species of warthogs highlights the importance of molecular methods applied to the knowledge and conservation of biodiversity in Africa, to uncover the tempo and mode of its species evolution.


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Montag, 28 Januar 2019 14:57

MEIJAARD; E. & GROVES, C. P. (2004)

A taxonomic revision of the Tragulus mouse-deer (Artiodactyla).

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 140: 63–102. 23 Abbildungen


The taxonomy of South-East Asian mouse-deer (Tragulus) is complex, and after some 120 years of considerable taxonomic revisions of the genus a clear key is still lacking for the determination of species and subspecies. Through craniometrical analysis of 338 skulls of Tragulus and some study of coat coloration patterns we have come to a better understanding of mouse-deer taxonomy. Our results show that there are three species groups: the T. javanicus-group, the T. napu-group, and T. versicolor.

Within the T. javanicus-group we recognize three species: T. javanicus (from Java), T. williamsoni (from northern Thailand and possibly southern China), and T. kanchil (from the rest of the range), and within these species we provisionally recognize 16 subspecies. Within the T. napu-group we recognize two species: T. nigricans (from  Balabac), and T. napu (from the rest of the  range); within these species we provisionally recognize eight subspecies. T. versicolor from Nhatrang, south-east Vietnam, is distinct from the two previous groups; it is, however, unclear whether this  species is still extant.



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Genetic Analysis of the Origins of Domestic South American Camelids.

In: ZEDER, M. A. (2006) Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms. Chapter 23: 331-343.


In our sample, only 35% of domestic animals have not undergone any detectable hybridization. In particular, there are very large numbers of detectable hybrids in the alpaca (80%) — accentuated when using mitochondrial DNA. Forty percent of llama show detectable signs of hybridization, with mitochondrial introgression virtually absent. During  the  last  20–25 years,  large-scale  hybridization between llamas and alpacas has been carried out in the Andes.

Given the extreme hybridization in present-day alpacas, DNA analysis has been critical in resolving the origin of this domestic
form. Since our results suggest the vicuña as the ancestor of the alpaca, we propose that the classification of the alpaca
should be changed from Lama pacos L. to Vicugna pacos L.


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Mittwoch, 09 Januar 2019 09:22

GROVES, C. (2001)

Primate Taxonomy.

350 Seiten, illustriert.
Smithsonian, 2001. ISBN 156098872X, 9781560988724


In this book, Colin Groves proposes a complete taxonomy of living primates, reviewing the history and practice of their classification and providing an up-to-date synthesis of recent molecular and phylogenetic research. He contends that the taxonomic designation of individual species is the starting point for conservation, and that the taxonomy of living species is critical to understanding evolutionary relationships. At the heart of the book are species-by-species accounts in which Groves reviews the recent history of each group and offers many new taxonomic arrangements. He evaluates several distinctive former subspecies to full species status and reestablishes the status of a number of previously overlooked taxa. Discussing the major taxonomic issues of each group, he describes the reasoning behind his conclusions and objectively offers explanations of opposing views. He also briefly outlines a possible taxonomy of fossil primates based on the taxonomy of living primates.


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An updated description of the Australian dingo (Canis dingo Meyer, 1793)

Journal of Zoology, 292 (3). https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12134


A sound understanding of the taxonomy of threatened species is essential for setting conservation priorities and the development of management strategies. Hybridization is a threat to species conservation because it compromises the integrity of unique evolutionary lineages and can impair the ability of conservation managers to identify threatened taxa and achieve conservation targets. Australia's largest land predator, the dingo Canis dingo, is a controversial taxon that is threatened by hybridization. Since their arrival <5000 yBP (years Before Present) dingoes have been subject to isolation, leading to them becoming a unique canid. However, the dingo's taxonomic status is clouded by hybridization with modern domesticated dogs and confusion about how to distinguish ‘pure’ dingoes from dingo-dog hybrids. Confusion exists because there is no description or series of original specimens against which the identities of putative hybrid and ‘pure’ dingoes can be assessed. Current methods to classify dingoes have poor discriminatory abilities because natural variation within dingoes is poorly understood, and it is unknown if hybridization may have altered the genome of post-19th century reference specimens. Here we provide a description of the dingo based on pre-20th century specimens that are unlikely to have been influenced by hybridization. The dingo differs from the domestic dog by relatively larger palatal width, relatively longer rostrum, relatively shorter skull height and relatively wider top ridge of skull. A sample of 19th century dingo skins we examined suggests that there was considerable variability in the colour of dingoes and included various combinations of yellow, white, ginger and darker variations from tan to black. Although it remains difficult to provide consistent and clear diagnostic features, our study places morphological limits on what can be considered a dingo.



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Donnerstag, 20 Dezember 2018 11:36

DE BOER, L.E.M. & DE BRUIJN, M. (1990)

Chromosomal distinction between the red‐faced and black‐faced black spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus paniscus and A. p. chamek).

Zoo Biology 9 (4): 307-316. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.1430090406


The two subspecies of the black spider monkey, Ateles paniscus paniscus and A. p. chamek, can be distinguished by their chromosome number, 2n = 32 in the former and 2n = 34 in the latter. This difference most probably is the result of a tandem fusion between chromosomes 4 and 13 of the original Ateles karyotype (2n = 34) to form a unique metacentric chromosome in A. p. paniscus. Further differences between the subspecies concern the presence of additional interstial or terminal C‐bands in chromosomes 3, 5, and 12 of A. p. paniscus. A third difference is that chromosome 12 is metacentric in A. p. paniscus but is submetacentric in A. p. chamek. A. p. chamek shows dimorphisms caused by pericentric inversions in pairs 1, 5, 6, and 7 as well as in the Y chromosome. Since the dimorphisms in pairs 5 and 7 are only found in homozygous condition, they may indicate the existence of geographic variation within this subspecies. Differences in external characteristics possibly reflect these chromosomal difference. The necessity to lend A. p. paniscus full specific status should be considered, since karyologically this is the most distinct one of all forms of Ateles. In captive breeding A. p. paniscus should evidently be treated as a separate population, as hybridization with A. p. chamek may result in offspring with reduced fertility. The intra‐subspecific karyological variation in A. p. chamek and its possible consequences for taxonomy and captive breeding require further investigation.

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Montag, 17 Dezember 2018 14:54

MARSH, L. K. (2014)

A Taxonomic Revision of the Saki Monkeys, Pithecia Desmarest, 1804

Neotropical Primates 21(1):1-165. https://doi.org/10.1896/044.021.0101


For more than 200 years, the taxonomy of Pithecia has been floating on the misunderstanding of a few species, in particular P. pithecia and P. monachus. In this revision, historical names and descriptions are addressed and original type material is examined. For every museum specimen, all location, collection, and museum data were recorded, and photographs and measurements of each skin, skull, mount, or fluid specimen were taken. The revision is based on work conducted in 36 museums in 28 cities from 17 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Japan, resulting in the examination of 876 skins (including mounts and fluids), 690 skulls, and hundreds of photographs taken by the author and by colleagues in the field of living captive and wild sakis of all species, and through internet searches. Per this revision, there are 16 species of Pithecia: five currently recognized, three reinstated, three elevated from subspecies level, and five newly described.


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