Author(s): Goodman M, Tagle DA, Koop BF, Fitch DH, Czelusniak J
The morphological picture of primate phylogeny has not unambiguously identified the nearest outgroup of Anthropoidea and has not resolved the branching pattern within Hominoidea. The molecular picture provides more resolution and clarifies the systematics of Hominoidea. Protein and DNA evidence divides Hominoidea into Hylobatidae (gibbons) and Hominidae, family Hominidae into Ponginae (orangutan) and Homininae, and subfamily Homininae into two tribes, one for Gorilla, and the other for Pan (chimpanzee) and Homo. Parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses, carried out on orthologous noncoding nucleotide sequences from primate beta-globin gene clusters, provide significant evidence for the human-chimpanzee tribe and overwhelming evidence for the human-chimpanzee-gorilla clade. These analyses also indicate that the rate of molecular evolution became slower in hominoids than in other primates and mammals.