Contrasting Phylogeographic Histories of Chimpanzees in Nigeria and Cameroon: A Multi-Locus Genetic Analysis Chapter uri icon


  • As many as four geographically distinct subspecies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) may persist across sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about the geographic boundaries that delimit these populations. Genetic studies of the first hypervariable region (HVRI) of mitochondrial (mt)DNA of wild chimpanzees suggest that the Sanaga River may important in delineating chimpanzee populations in western Africa from those western equatorial Africa. However, the HVRI represents only a single realization of the evolutionary process. Here we present microsatellite, or Single Tandem Repeat (STR), genotypes of wild chimpanzees from Nigeria and Cameroon to complement and expand upon previous studies of chimpanzee mtDNA. We observed a different but compatible pattering of genetic diversity between the STR loci and the HVRI sequences. Generally, our analyses of these data suggest that the Sanaga River has played an important, but not exclusive, role in delimiting chimpanzees from western Africa from those in western equatorial Africa. The significance of the Niger River and of the Dahomey Gap in limiting chimpanzee distribution patterns remain equivocal. Additional multi-locus sampling of chimpanzees near these putative biogeographic boundaries may more clearly resolve the roles they have played in recent chimpanzee evolution.

author list (cited authors)

  • Katherine Gonder, M., & Disotell, T. R.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Katherine Gonder, M||Disotell, Todd R

editor list (cited editors)

  • Lehman, S. M., & Fleagle, J. G.

Book Title

  • Primate Biogeography

publication date

  • January 2006