TITLE

Comparative Perspectives on Bimaturism, Ontogeny, and Dimorphism in Lemurid Primates

AUTHOR(S)
Leigh, Steven R.; Terranova, Carl J.
PUB. DATE
August 1998
SOURCE
International Journal of Primatology;Aug98, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p723
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
We address questions regarding the general absence of dimorphism in lemurid primates ( Hapalemur, Eulemur, and Varecia) through comparative analyses of ontogeny. We described and analyzed body mass growth data for 9 lemurid taxa and compared them to similar data for anthropoid primates. Lemurids tend to grow rapidly over a short period of time when compared to anthropoid primates of similar body sizes. Size variation among lemurid taxa arises primarily as a consequence of differences in rates of growth. Comparative analyses of body mass growth data suggest that natural selection has produced ontogenetic adaptations in lemurids that center on relatively short periods of growth. Reduced growth periods preclude the evolution of sexual dimorphism through bimaturism—a sex difference in the length of the growth period—despite high levels of intermale competition. Selective factors related to seasonal variability of lemurid habitats play important roles in limiting the potential for the evolution of bimaturism. Other selective factors that limit bimaturism are related to female reproductive synchrony. In combination, they favor relatively early male maturation, precluding sexual selection that would otherwise promote the evolution of dimorphism through bimaturism. Natural selection on growth rates may preclude somatic responses to sexual selection that involve elevated male growth rates. In general, existing ontogenetic or life history adaptations appear to restrict responses to sexual selection in male lemurids.
ACCESSION #
1113500

 

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