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A new subfamily of fossorial colubroid snakes from the Western Ghats of peninsular IndiaWe report molecular phylogenetic and dating analyses of snakes that include new mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data for three species of the peninsular Indian endemic Xylophis. The results provide the first molecular genetic test of and support for the monophyly of Xylophis. Our phylogenetic results support the findings of a previous, taxonomically restricted phylogenomic analysis of ultraconserved nuclear sequences in recovering the fossorial Xylophis as the sister taxon of a clade comprising all three recognised extant genera of the molluscivoran and typically arboreal pareids. The split between Xylophis and ‘pareids’ is estimated to have occurred on a similar timescale to that between most (sub)families of extant snakes. Based on phylogenetic relationships, depth of molecular genetic and estimated temporal divergence, and on the external morphological and ecological distinctiveness of the two lineages, we classify Xylophis in a newly erected subfamily (Xylophiinae subfam. nov.) within Pareidae.
The type specimens and type localities of the orangutans, genus Pongo Lacépède, 1799 (Primates: Hominidae)Uncertain type localities undermine orangutan nomenclature. Bequeathed to the British Museum, the holotype of Pongo pygmaeus, according to Hans Sloane’s catalogue, came from Borneo and died in China. The historical evidence makes Banjarmasin its most probable type locality. William Montgomerie, Assistant Surgeon at Singapore from 1819-1827, and Senior Surgeon from 1832, supplied the holotype of Simia morio. In 1836 an adult female orangutan reached Singapore alive from Pontianak, Borneo. The holotypes of S. morio, S. hendrikzii, S. straussii and P[ithecus] owenii probably had the same origin, as pirate attacks endangered visits to other Bornean coasts. Absent from Brunei and north Sarawak, Malaysia, throughout the Holocene, orangutans occur there only as Pleistocene subfossils at Niah. Pan vetus (the Piltdown mandible) probably came from Paku, Sarawak. We identify Pongo borneo Lacépède, 1799 as an objective senior synonym of P. wurmbii Tiedemann, 1808, correcting its type locality from Sukadana to near Pontianak. This is the earliest name for the western subspecies (previously thought nominotypical) unless Pithecus curtus, probably from the Sadong River, Sarawak, represents a separate subspecies. If so, the name Pongo borneo would transfer to the southern population west of the Kahayan River, genetically distinguished at species level from the Sumatran orangutan, P. abelii.