|Phylogenetic placement of colugos (Scandentia) in the lineage of primates|
From Mason et al. Sci Adv 2016 (here) CC BY-NC
Now that has been rectified in a comprehensive study by Mason and colleagues (here) who sequenced the genome of a Sunda colugo and compared it with genomes from 21 mammals. The result clearly came out in favour of colugos as the closest relatives to primates, supported by 20 shared indels and 16 shared retrotransposons.
There are many morphological similarities between tree shrews and colugos but the tree constructed by Mason et al. implies these are due to convergent evolution. Within Euarchontoglires they find tree shrews as the sister to Glires (rodents and lagomorphs).
Museomics and hidden biodiversity within colugos
|Colugo fetus and placenta at term; ys = yolk sac;|
pat = patagonium From Hubrecht 1894 (here)
Currently we are re-examining the placenta and fetal membranes of colugos. We too have had to rely on museum specimens such as those collected by A.A.W. Hubrecht.
The importance of museum collections has been highlighted before in this blog. It is nice that scientists other than morphologists have discovered their value and coined the term museomics for studies of DNA from ancient specimens. Those in the current study ranged from 28 to 121 years old. The oldest specimen from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research is contemporaneous with those collected by Hubrecht for his study of the fetal membranes and now housed at Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.