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posted 09. June 2004 11:58
PNAS | March 30, 2004 | vol. 101 | no. 13 | 4356-4360
Morphometrics and hominoid phylogeny: Support for a chimpanzee-human clade and differentiation among great ape subspecies
Charles A. Lockwood, William H. Kimbel and John M. Lynch
Abstract: Taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses of great apes and humans have identified two potential areas of conflict between molecular and morphological data: phylogenetic relationships among living species and differentiation of great ape subspecies. Here we address these problems by using morphometric data. Three-dimensional landmark data from the hominoid temporal bone effectively quantify the shape of a complex element of the skull. Phylogenetic analysis using distance-based methods corroborates the molecular consensus on African ape and human phylogeny, strongly supporting a Pan-Homo clade. Phenetic differentiation of great ape subspecies is pronounced, as suggested previously by mitochondrial DNA and some morphological studies. These results show that the hominoid temporal bone contains a strong phylogenetic signal and reveal the potential for geometric morphometric analysis to shed light on phylogenetic relationships.