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Phylogeny, biogeography and systematic revision of plain long-nosed squirrels (genus Dremomys, Nannosciurinae)

AuthorsHawkins, Melissa T. R.; Helgen, Kristofer M.; Maldonado, Jesús E.; Rockwood, Larry L.; Tsuchiya, Mirian T. N.; Leonard, Jennifer A.
KeywordsConvergent evolution
Molecular phylogeny
Issue DateJan-2016
CitationMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94(Part B): 752-764 (2016)
AbstractThe plain long-nosed squirrels, genus Dremomys, are high elevation species in East and Southeast Asia. Here we present a complete molecular phylogeny for the genus based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Concatenated mitochondrial and nuclear gene trees were constructed to determine the tree topology, and date the tree. All speciation events within the plain-long nosed squirrels (genus Dremomys) were ancient (dated to the Pliocene or Miocene), and averaged older than many speciation events in the related Sunda squirrels, genus Sundasciurus. Within the plain long-nosed squirrels, the most recent interspecific split occurred 2.9 million years ago, older than some splits within Sunda squirrels, which dated to the Pleistocene. Our results demonstrate that the plain long-nosed squirrels are not monophyletic. The single species with a distinct distribution, the Bornean mountain ground squirrel (Dremomys everetti), which is endemic to the high mountains of Borneo, is nested within the Sunda squirrels with high support. This species diverged from its sister taxa in the Sunda squirrels 6.62 million years ago, and other plain long-nosed squirrels over 11 million years ago. Our analyses of morphological traits in these related genera support the re-classification of the Bornean mountain ground squirrel, Dremomys everetti, to the genus Sundasciurus, which changes its name to Sundasciurus everetti. Past inclusion in the plain long-nosed squirrels (Dremomys) reflects convergent evolution between these high elevation species.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2015.10.023
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