A phylogeny of guenons was drawn up from the analysis of the acoustic structure of their cohesion, contact and alarm calls, as well as of the loud calls of the adult males. The plesiomorphic or anamorphic state of every acoustic parameter retained was inferred from comparisons with calls given by papionines and/or colobines. A cladistic method was used for analysing a matrix of species by character.
The proposed phylogeny separates guenons into two groups: the one includes all forest-living arboreal forms, the other most of the terrestrially-adapted species. The latter, together with C. nigroviridis, which lie close to the origin from which all guenons diverged, share a relatively primitive position, while the arboreal species are the most derived living representatives of the taxon. Quite reliable interspecific affinities are found among arboreal forms, while there are some inconsistencies for the more primitive species. Such results suggest that cercopithecines would have undergone a radiation from more or less open habitats into forests, the evolution proceeding from large-bodied, partly-terrestrial forms to smaller arboreal ones.