Crocodilian evolution: Insights from immunological data

Carla Ann Hass, Michael A. Hoffman, Llewellyn D. Densmore, Linda R. Maxson

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52 Scopus citations


The quantitative immunological technique of microcomplement fixation was used to examine serum albumin evolution among members of the order Crocodylia. The cross-reactivity of the albumin antisera and antigens employed in this study had been examined previously using the qualitative technique of immunodiffusion. The phylogenetic conclusions derived from these two data sets are highly congruent, including support of the families Alligatoridae and Crocodylidae, with the placement of Gavialis as the sister taxon of Tomistoma. Both methods provide similar information on the relative amounts of amino acid sequence divergence between albumin molecules; however, the data obtained from microcomplement fixation comparisons are more discriminating than those derived from immunodiffusion. The estimated divergence times within the Crocodylia derived from the fossil record are examined in light of divergence times predicted by the microcomplement fixation-based albumin clock. The traditional phylogenetic placement of Gavialis outside the remaining extant crocodilians is inconsistent with all molecular data sets and we suggest that a careful reexamination of both the extant and the fossil morphological data is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992


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