15 September 2011

Soft Tissue Characters Supporting the Great Ape Clades

In my last post, I took a look at some morphological cladistic analyses of hominoids (apes) and tried to compile list of characters that supported the major clades: great apes, African great apes, and mangani (chimpanzees + humans). Unfortunately the studies I looked at only considered skeletal characters (and one of them only craniodental characters). Fortunately, a reader (Dartian) suggested some studies that look at soft tissue characters. I've just skimmed this paper:
  • GIBBS, S., COLLARD, M. & WOOD, B. (2002). Soft-tissue anatomy of the extant hominoids: a review and phylogenetic analysis. Journal of Anatomy 200:349. doi:10.1046/j.0021-8782.2001.00001.x
The authors compiled a matrix of 171 soft tissue characters and found strong support for the topology produced by earlier molecular studies (gibbons, (orangutans, (gorillas, (humans, chimpanzees)))). Below, I've compiled lists of character states that unambiguously support the major clades: