Friday, November 02, 2007

On Lemurs and Primates
Flying lemurs, or colugos, are currently the primates’ closest relative. The primate includes the human species along with monkeys, and apes. Researchers from the biological field are currently racing to sequence the genes of primates’ nearest relative. In fact these lemurs, which aren’t really lemurs at all, are really closely related to the squirrel family. Colugos could possibly finish the evolutionary tree puzzle that would inform scientists when and where the different primate groups branched off from one another. Scientists estimate that the colugo, the primates’ closest relative, branched from primates some 86 million years ago. Today colugos are divided in two different species, the Cynocephalus in the Philippines which is listed as vulnerable, and Galeopterus in southeast Asia. In fact lemurs, which the colugos so deceptively get their name, are primates themselves. The sequencing of the colugo genes could give the scientific community the ability to compare more primate genes, therefore leading us to the first primate species to have evolved off of the tree of life. A clearer picture of what we may have been like in the beginning, what we may have been before we diverged.

The closest ancestor between the order dermoptera, thats colugos, and primates, thats us, is euarchonta a superorder that is divided into four orders including colugos and primates. The euarchonta is an early mammal that is shrew-like, and diverged into the four orders that include primates and colugos. Of the three other orders the colugo happens to be our closest relative. Now that we understand the relationship between the dermoptera and the primate, it is imperitave that we sequence the genes of the colugo.

So where can we move with such information? Where can we take the biological field with information about the colugos? With such advances in DNA sequencing allowing further insight to our own species we may one day be able to find our origins as a human species.

Posted by Antonio Hernandez (6)


At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's very interesting that the primates closest relative is actually more closely related to squirrels and not to lemurs. Most people look at lemurs and can relate their appendages, eyes, and overall behavior to be much more primate like than a squirrel. Some lemurs even exhibit a form of bipedal transportation. It actually looks more like a skipping lateral jump than walking but it's much more primate like than anything i have seen a squirrel do. I wonder what if any relation squirrels and lemurs have to each other. But in regard to the article its relevance to completing the direct route of human evolution is very interesting.

Posted by MJP

At 5:28 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger PWH said...

It is very interesting how these colugos are members of the primate species and are so similar to squirrels. It would have infinite influence if these animals are indeed the missing link in determining when the primates branched out and would help us get one step closer to the evolutionary tree. They are very interesting looking and would want to know what eventually happens after their DNA is sequenced.

Posted by Carmen B. Arsuaga (6)


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