Growth rates in a captive population of Tonkean macaques
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Measuring variations in body mass is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of life-history patterns, and it provides information on the timing of sexual maturity and the development of sexual dimorphism. In this study, we collected longitudinal data on body mass from infancy to adulthood in a captive population of Tonkean macaques (Macaca tonkeana). Tests to evaluate whether social group, maternal age, and dominance rank influenced growth rates showed that they had no significant effect. We investigated the timing and magnitude of breaking points in the growth paths of males and females, and checked whether these breaking points could correspond to specific reproductive and morphological developmental events. We found that male and female Tonkean macaques have roughly equivalent body masses until around the age of four, when males go through an adolescent growth spurt and females continue to grow at a constant rate. Males not only grow faster than females, but they also continue to grow for nearly one and a half years after females have attained their full body mass. Growth rate differences account for approximately two-thirds of the body mass sexual dimorphism; only the remaining third results from continued male growth beyond the age where full body mass is reached in females. We also discovered remarkable correspondences between the timing of testicular enlargement and the adolescent growth spurt in males, and between dental development and slowdown breaking points in both sexes.
KeywordsBody mass Development Breaking point Puberty Sexual dimorphism Macaca tonkeana
We thank the managers and keepers of the Parco Faunistico di Piano dell’Abatino of Rieti for providing technical support. We are grateful to Faye Abbiate, Melissa Messinese and Elena Vero for their assistance during body mass measurements, and to Alessandro Giuliani for his statistical advice. We thank reviewers for their fruitful comments. This study followed all applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals.
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