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Rensch's rule, Bergmann's effect and adult sexual dimorphism in wild monogamous owl monkeys (Aotus azarai) of Argentina


  • Eduardo Fernandez-Duque

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
    2. Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Litoral, Conicet, Argentina
    • 431 University Museum, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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Some monogamous primates are characterized by biparental care, territoriality, and a reduced level of physical dimorphism. In others, the relationship between those behavioral patterns and dimorphism is less clear. I tested Bergmann's and Rensch's rules using Aotus spp. body mass data and I characterized the extent of sexual dimorphism in body mass, dental and physical measurements in a socially monogamous owl monkey population (n = 91 adults) from the Argentinean Gran Chaco. A. azarai azarai from the Argentinean Chaco is larger than the more tropical owl monkey species (r = 0.7, N = 6 species), but there is no apparent increase in sexual dimorphism with increased body mass. The body masses of adult male and female A. a. azarai were remarkably similar (Mean = 1.26 kg); there were no marked sex differences in most skeletal measurements, but males had higher and wider upper and lower canines than did females. Body mass and neck circumference were positively and strongly related (r = 0.533, n = 52), and the body mass of adults was not a reliable indicator of their age (r = 0.03, n = 10). The data illustrate the complexities inherent in examining and summarizing within population variation in skeletal and nonskeletal measurements and contribute to a better understanding of the relationships between monogamous behavioral patterns and sexual dimorphism. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2011Wiley-Liss, Inc.