Sexual dimorphism and interspecific cranial form in two capuchin species: Cebus albifrons and C. apella



Ontogenetic patterns of sexual dimorphism and cranial form in two capuchin monkeys, Cebus albifrons and C. apella, are investigated by means of univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistics. The analyses are based on 23 linear variables. Univariate analyses indicate that similar ontogenetic patterns of cranial sexual dimorphism are present; however, interspecific differences exist in timing. Ontogenetic scaling is present in both species' crania; however, it is more prevalent in C. albifrons. Several departures are present in cranial regions associated with orbital shape, the dental arcade, and the muscles of mastication. The latter two indicate that sexual differences in diet and/or foraging strategies may exist. Sexual selection is suggested as being the primary selective regime underlying the observed patterns of cranial sexual dimorphism in each species. Interspecific comparisons confirm that C. apella possesses a more dimorphic cranium than C. albifrons and that sexual dimorphism in C. apella begins earlier in development. Although interspecific ontogenetic scaling is present in some cranial variables, C. apella is not just a scaled-up version of C. albifrons. These sympatric congeners seem to be differentiated by variables related to the orbital region and the masticatory apparatus, as indicated by both departures from ontogenetic scaling and results of the discriminant function analysis. Ecological selection, rather than varying degrees of sexual selection, is likely to be responsible for this finding given that C. apella is known to consume hard-object foods. This is consistent with the predicted outcome of the competitive exclusion principle. Am J Phys Anthropol 104:487–511, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.