Do these three phylogenies conflict in the information they provide about the evolutionary relationships of these species?  Could someone explain?picture can be seen here:

Expert Answers
bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, there is a definite conflict presented in the three phylogenetic trees represented in the diagram.  In the first diagram, (a), there is a distinct split between two primate groups, one containing the apes, chimpanzees, and man, while the other branch contains the macaques, which are Old World monkeys.  One of the major distinctions between the two groups is one (the macaques) has prehensile tails, used for arboreal dwelling, while the other group (gorilla-chimp-human) does not, indicating a move towards a non-arboreal dwelling.

In the second phylogenetic tree, (b), there is a mix between the two aforementioned groups, showing the Rhesus macaque to be the primary ancestor, from which descends the ape-chimpanzee-human organisms.  This is a direct conflict with diagram (a), which shows a distinct, separate split between the two groups.  Similarly, phylogenetic tree (c) shows the human-chimpanzee as the primary ancestor, from which are descended the macaques, which is in direct conflict with the dominant split presented in diagram (a). 

Of the three diagrams presented, (a) is the one that makes the most logical presentation, showing the evolution and development of two distinct families of primates, each possessing a differing set of physical characteristics that would enable them to dominate their environmental setting.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question