Sexual selection and sexually dimorphic traits

Alan F. Dixson

in Primate Sexuality

Second edition

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199544646
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191810022 | DOI:
Sexual selection and sexually dimorphic traits

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  • Zoology and Animal Sciences
  • Evolutionary Biology


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This chapter describes the sexual dimorphism of primates in terms of body weight, canine tooth, vocal anatomy, and cutaneous glands and scent-marking displays. It also discusses sexual skin and other secondary sexual traits in adult males. Some specific examples of these traits are capes of hair in male geladas and hamadry as baboons, bony paranasal swellings in mandrills and drills, and the impressive cheek flanges of the adult male orangutan. The chapter then examines the secondary sexual characteristics of adult female and addresses the swelling of female sexual skins. Female sexual skin swellings appear to be the result of runaway sexual selection. Sexual selection and human sexual dimorphism are also explained.

Keywords: sexual dimorphism; sexual skin; sexual traits; secondary sexual characteristics; sexual selection

Chapter.  34060 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences ; Evolutionary Biology

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