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Keywords:

  • Callitrichidae;
  • geographic variation;
  • taxonomy;
  • morphological evolution;
  • speciation

Abstract

Interspecific differentiation and geographic variation patterns in 39 skull traits of eastern Brazilian marmosets are analyzed. Eastern Callithrix taxa are distinct morphologically, and no evidence of intergradation among taxa is observed. Instead, there are sharp, stepped morphological boundaries among taxa, consistent with species-level distinction. The morphological similarity cluster diagram obtained from Mahalanobis distances is different from available molecular trees, and the general picture emerging is that the eastern Callithrix taxa should be considered as good species arising recently in South American history. In particular, C. kuhlii is morphologically distinct from other marmoset taxa, including C. geoffroyi and C. penicillata, which were previously hypothesized to be the parental populations that formed C. kuhlii by hybridization. Furthermore, C. kuhlii populations from southeastern Bahia do not overlap morphologically with any C. penicillata population, including the upper São Francisco River populations that display skin colors and pelage patterns to some extent similar to true Kuhli's marmosets. There is a negative, though insignificant, correlation between the morphological distance matrix and a Mahalanobis distance matrix estimated from nine climatic variables, a pattern opposite to that expected under a parapatric speciation model. This result, together with the lack of clinal variation in skull traits, suggests that an allopatric model of speciation might best explain eastern marmoset diversification. Am J Phys Anthropol 2003. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.