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Table of Contents
Vol. 57, No. 3, 1991
Issue release date: 1991
Folia Primatol 1991;57:132–146
(DOI:10.1159/000156575)

Patterns of Sexual Dimorphism in Body Weight among Prosimian Primates

Kappeler P.M.
Department of Zoology and Duke University Primate Center, Duke University, Durham, N.C., USA

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Abstract

Many primatologists believe that there is no sexual dimorphism in body size in prosimian primates. Because this belief is based upon data that came from only a few species and were largely flawed in some aspect of sample quality, I re-examined the extent of sexual dimorphism in body weight, using weights of 791 adult prosimians from 34 taxa recorded over the last 17 years at the Duke University Primate Center. There was no significant sex difference in body weight in 17 species, but males were significantly larger in Nycticebus pygmaeus, Tarsius syrichta, Galago moholi, Galagoides demidovii, Otolemur crassicaudatus and Otolemur garnettii. Moreover, females were significantly larger in Microcebus murinus. Thus, the general lack of sexual dimorphism could be confirmed, notably for lemurs, but prosimians as a group show more variability in sexual size dimorphism than was previously thought. After including previously published data obtained in the wild from 8 additional species, I found significant heterogeneity in the degree of sexual dimorphism at the family level, but only the Indridae and Galagidae were significantly different from each other. Among the prosimian infraorders, the Lorisiformes were significantly more dimorphic than the Lemuriformes. Differences in dimorphism between higher taxonomic groups are discussed in the context of prosimian evolution, concluding that phylogenetic inertia cannot provide a causal explanation for the evolution of sexual dimorphism. The relative monomorphism of most prosimians may be related to allometric constraints and, especially in the Lemuriformes, to selective forces affecting male and female behavioral strategies.



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