Combining Biogeographic and Phylogenetic Data to Examine Primate Speciation: An Example Using Cercopithecin Monkeys



We combined phylogenetic and biogeographic data to examine the mode of speciation in a group of African monkeys, the Cercopithecini. If allopatric speciation is the major force producing species, then there should be a positive relationship between the relative divergence time of taxa and their degree of geographic range overlap. Alternatively, an opposite relationship between divergence time and geographic range overlap is consistent with sympatric speciation as the main mechanism underlying the cercopithecin radiation. We collected biogeographic and phylogenetic data for 19 guenon species from the literature. We digitized geographic range maps and utilized three different phylogenetic hypotheses based on Y chromosome, X chromosome, and mitochondrial (mtDNA) data. We used regressions with Monte Carlo simulation to examine the relationship between the relative time since divergence of taxa and their degree of geographic range overlap. We found that there was a positive relationship between relative divergence time and the proportion of geographic range overlap between taxa using all three molecular data sets. Our findings provide evidence for allopatric speciation being the common mode of diversification in the cercopithecin clade. Because most of these primates are forest adapted mammals, the cyclical contraction and expansion of African forests from the late Miocene to the present has likely been an important factor driving allopatric speciation. In addition, geographic barriers such as the Congo and Sanaga rivers have probably played a complementary role in producing new species within the clade.