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Keywords:

  • sexual selection;
  • display;
  • intraspecific scaling;
  • canine tooth;
  • maxillary ridge

Abstract

According to a hypothesis in the broader mammalian literature, secondary sexual characteristics that have evolved to signal fitness and size to other conspecifics should exhibit positive allometry across adult males within a species. Here this hypothesis is tested in the genus Mandrillus. The overbuilding of bony features in larger individuals necessitates a functional explanation as bone is metabolically expensive to produce and maintain. Canine size and size of the maxillary ridge are scaled against a body size surrogate in intraspecific samples of male Mandrillus sphinx (mandrills) and Mandrillus leucophaeus (drills). Areal dimensions are weighted more heavily as they represent the size of a feature as it is viewed by individuals. Measures of the maxillary ridge and canine tooth are significantly correlated with the size surrogate and scale with positive allometry in both samples supporting the hypothesis that these features function to advertise a male's body size and fitness to other males competing for mates and potential discerning females. This is the first study in primates to test for intraspecific positive allometric scaling of bony facial features in adult males based on a theory of fitness signaling and sexual selection. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.