, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 169-178

Sexual dimorphism and dental variability in platyrrhine primates

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Leutenegger and Cheverud (1982, 1985) propose a hypothesis to explain why larger primates are more sexually dimorphic in body weight and canine size. Their hypothesis states that any factor selecting for an evolutionary increase in body size will produce an increase in sexual dimorphism in any character if either heritability or phenotypic variability is greater in males than in females for that character. They cite no evidence for heritability but give some data to suggest that males are, in fact, more variable than females. We test the latter proposition more fully using measurements on the dentitions of platyrrhine primates. Male and female phenotypic variances are not significantly different in most cases. Cases of greater male phenotypic variance are not limited to sexually dimorphic species. We conclude that the hypothesis of Leutenegger and Cheverud does not explain the observed patterns of dental sexual dimorphism, at least in platyrrhines.