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Reappraisal of Macaca speciosa subfossilis from the Late Pleistocene of Northern Vietnam Based on the Analysis of Cranial Anatomy

Tsuyoshi Ito, Takeshi D Nishimura, Brigitte Senut, Thomas Koppe, Jacque Treil, Masanaru Takai

Jouffroy (1959, Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Série 2, 31, 209–216) described Macaca speciosa subfossilis on the basis of her study of the external anatomy of a nearly complete cranium (PV F1; Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris) found in the Late Pleistocene cave deposits, Thung-Lang, northern Vietnam. While Jouffroy (1959) considered it to belong to an ancestor of Macaca arctoides and/or M. thibetana, Fooden (1990, Journal of Human Evolution, 19, 607–686) reexamined the facial anatomy and assigned it to the extant species M. arctoides. We used computed tomography images to reevaluate the phylogenetic position of Macaca speciosa subfossilis by comparing the external and internal features of PV F1 with those of the crania of the extant macaque species. PV F1 shows a lower degree of preorbital concavity than Macaca arctoides, M. assamensis, and M. thibetana, but shares an anteriorly directed malar as seen in the crania of the two former species. The size of the molars of PV F1 falls within a range such that the cranium may be assigned to any of the five species of Macaca arctoides, M. assamensis, M. thibetana, M. mulatta, and M. nemestrina. An analysis of the internal structure of the cranium reveals that only PV F1 and the cranium of Macaca arctoides have a pear-shaped nasal cavity expanding laterally at both the anterior and posterior regions. Such a feature is probably a derived condition in the macaque lineage, suggesting a close relationship between Macaca speciosa subfossilis and M. arctoides. This finding supports the paleobiological scenario that the members of the Macaca arctoides lineage diverged from the other members of Asian macaques and became distributed in northern Vietnam as early as the Late Pleistocene.

International Journal of Primatology, 30(5), 643-662, 2009


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