Primate molecular divergence dates

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Nov;41(2):384-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.021. Epub 2006 May 26.


With genomic data, alignments can be assembled that greatly increase the number of informative sites for analysis of molecular divergence dates. Here, we present an estimate of the molecular divergence dates for all of the major primate groups. These date estimates are based on a Bayesian analysis of approximately 59.8 kbp of genomic data from 13 primates and 6 mammalian outgroups, using a range of paleontologically supported calibration estimates. Results support a Cretaceous last common ancestor of extant primates (approximately 77 mya), an Eocene divergence between platyrrhine and catarrhine primates (approximately 43 mya), an Oligocene origin of apes and Old World monkeys (approximately 31 mya), and an early Miocene (approximately 18 mya) divergence of Asian and African great apes. These dates are examined in the context of other molecular clock studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fossils
  • Humans
  • Mammals / classification
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Models, Statistical
  • Phylogeny
  • Primates / classification*
  • Primates / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator