Sexual dimorphism in the pelvic bones of Svalbard reindeer, Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus


  • N. J. C. Tyler

    1. Research Group in Mammalian Ecology and Reproduction, University of Cambridge Physiological Laboratory, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EG, UK
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    • *Department of Arctic Biology, University of Tromso, P.B. 635, 9001 Tromse, Norway


The determination of sex of carcasses of reindeer and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) is complicated because both sexes normally carry antlers. Growth curves of males and females diverge sufficiently so that the length of long bones can often indicate the sex of a carcass if its age at death is known; results, however, are not always conclusive. Pronounced sexual dimorphism was found in the breadth of the ventro-medial border (rim) of the acetabulum of adult Svalbard reindeer. Measurement of the rim of the acetabulum thus provides a quick and conclusive means for determining the sex of carcasses of these animals. Similar results have been found in several other species of ungulates. Reasons for the dimorphism and for the non-normal distribution of the data for both sexes in reindeer are discussed.