Cranial evolution in sakis (Pithecia, Platyrrhini) II: evolutionary processes and morphological integration


Correspondence and present address: Gabriel Marroig, Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 11.461, 05422-970 São Paulo, SP, Brasil. Tel.: +55 11 3091 7552/67; fax: +55 11 3091 7553;


Patterns of interspecific differentiation in saki monkeys (Pithecia) are quantitatively described and possible evolutionary processes producing them are examined. The comparison of species correlation matrices to expected patterns of morphological integration reveal significant and similar patterns of development-based cranial integration among species. Aspects of the facial region are more heavily influenced by general size variation than features of the neural region. The comparison of pooled within- and between-groups V/CV matrices suggests that genetic drift might be a sufficient explanation for saki cranial evolution. Differential natural selection gradients are also reconstructed because selection may also have caused population differentiation through evolutionary time. These gradients illustrate the inherent multivariate nature of selection, being a consequence of the interaction between existing morphological integration (correlation) among traits and the action of natural selection. Yet, our attempt to interpret selection gradients in terms of their functional significance did not result in any clear association between selection and function. Perhaps this is also an indication that morphological evolution in sakis was mostly neutral.