The phylogenetics of hybrids between the Sri Lankan primate species of langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites and S. vetulus)

The last 50 years of primate studies at Polonnaruwa (e.g., Dittus, 2013) have uncovered 36 cases of hybrids between the Gray or Hanuman langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites) and the Purple-faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus philbricki). The behavioral, demographic and ecological events surrounding these hybridizations have been well documented. The focus here is a new initiative, namely to investigate the genetic consequences and underpinnings of the hybridization events among Sri Lankan langurs. The genetic profiles of the Sri Lankan langur populations will give us new insights into the phylogeny of these populations and the behavioral, ecological and demographic roles in their evolution. It will expand our understanding of the biogeography of Sri Lankan mammals, evolution of primate taxa in general and specifically in the South Asian region.


Project Head: Dr. Wolfgang Dittus; collaborators: Dr. Suresh P. Benjamin & Dr. Praveen Karanth.