Mitochondrial DNA-like sequences have been found in the nuclei of a variety of organisms. These nuclear pseudogenes can be used to estimate relative evolutionary rates of mitochondrial genes, and can be used as outgroups in phylogenetic analyses. In this study, mitochondrial sequences with pseudogene-like characteristics, including deletions and/or insertions and stop codons, were found in tamarins (Saguinus spp., Callitrichinae, Primates). Phylogenetic analysis allowed estimation of the timing of the migration of these sequences to the nuclear genome, and also permitted inferences on the phylogeny of the genus. The choice of an inadequate outgroup (Aotus infulatus) prevented a good phylogenetic resolution of the subfamily Callitrichinae. The relatively ancient divergence of the Cebidae (Callitrichinae, Aotinae and Cebinae) may have favored confounding homoplasies.