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Paralouattais one of three extinct taxa of Greater Antillean Quaternary monkeys known from craniodental remains. The other two,Xenothrix mcgregoriandAntillothrix bernensis, occurred in Jamaica and Hispaniola, respectively. It has been common practice to assume that Antillean monkeys were more closely related to individual mainland taxa than to each other. Thus,P. varonaiwas thought to be related toAlouatta;Antillothrix bernensistoSaimiriorCebus; andX. mcgregoritoCallicebus, or to callitrichines, or even to be of unknown affinity. With the discovery of well-preserved dental remains ofParalouatta, it can now be ascertained that this species was in fact very different fromAlouatta. Cladistic analysis reveals a sister-group relationship betweenAntillothrixandParalouatta, followed on the cladogram byXenothrixandCallicebus(last taxon being the closest mainlaind relative of the Antillean clade). This conclusion has an important biogeographic implication: recognition of an Antillean clade, as advocated here, assumes only one primate colonization from the South American mainland, not several as previously believed.
Enter The Fist) Part 1