Rensch's rule in large herbivorous mammals derived from metabolic scaling
Sibly, R. M., Zuo, W., Kodric-Brown, A. and Brown, J. H. (2012) Rensch's rule in large herbivorous mammals derived from metabolic scaling. The American Naturalist, 179 (2). pp. 169-177. ISSN 0003-0147
To link to this article DOI: 10.1086/663686
Rensch’s rule, which states that the magnitude of sexual size dimorphism tends to increase with increasing body size, has evolved independently in three lineages of large herbivorous mammals: bovids (antelopes), cervids (deer), and macropodids (kangaroos). This pattern can be explained by a model that combines allometry,life-history theory, and energetics. The key features are thatfemale group size increases with increasing body size and that males have evolved under sexual selection to grow large enough to control these groups of females. The model predicts relationships among body size and female group size, male and female age at first breeding,death and growth rates, and energy allocation of males to produce body mass and weapons. Model predictions are well supported by data for these megaherbivores. The model suggests hypotheses for why some other sexually dimorphic taxa, such as primates and pinnipeds(seals and sea lions), do or do not conform to Rensh’s rule.
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