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J Hum Evol. 1998 Feb;34(2):173-201.

Sexual dimorphism in primate neonatal body mass.

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Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.


Data were collected on neonatal body mass for 109 primate species. For 23 species with sample sizes of nine or more for each sex, dimorphism (male/female ratio) in neonatal body mass ranged from 0.94 in Galago senegalensis and Aotus trivirgatus to 1.19 in Pongo pygmaeus. Dimorphism in neonatal body mass was positively correlated both with adult body mass and with dimorphism in adult body mass, but the apparent relationship with adult mass was eliminated after controlling for the relationship with adult dimorphism. Comparative studies concerned with neonatal body mass in primates have almost always ignored sexual dimorphism. However, neonatal sexual dimorphism in primates does exist and appears to be of sufficient magnitude to be biologically significant in some species. It may be important to consider the consequences of neonatal dimorphism for a variety of research questions related to maternal investment, life history, postnatal growth, and the relationship between neonatal size and adult female pelvic dimensions, both in extant and in extinct primates.

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