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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Jul;83(13):4828-30.

Mammary number and litter size in Rodentia: The "one-half rule".

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

Litter size and mammary number in the mammalian order Rodentia show a significant positive correlation. Mean litter size is typically one-half the number of available mammaries, while maximum litter size approximates mammary number. Similar relationships are found in the families Muridae, Cricetidae, and Sciuridae. The relationship of litter size to mammary number is significantly different between the arboreal and terrestrial squirrels, and between the hystricomorph and nonhystricomorph rodents. Mammary number may have operated as a selective constraint on litter size over evolutionary time.

PMID:
16593720
PMCID:
PMC323835

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