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Canine tooth size and fitness in male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).

Leigh, S. R. and Setchell, J. M. and Charpentier, M. and Knapp, L. A. and Wickings, E. J. (2008) 'Canine tooth size and fitness in male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).', Journal of human evolution., 55 (1). pp. 75-85.


Sexual selection theory explains the evolution of exaggerated male morphologies and weaponry, but the fitness consequences of developmental and age-related changes in these features remain poorly understood. This long-term study of mandrill monkeys (Mandrillus sphinx) demonstrates how age-related changes in canine tooth weaponry and adult canine size correlate closely with male lifetime reproductive success. Combining long-term demographic and morphometric data reveals that male fitness covaries simply and directly with canine ontogeny, adult maximum size, and wear. However, fitness is largely independent of other somatometrics. Male mandrills sire offspring almost exclusively when their canines exceed approximately 30mm, or 2/3 of average adult value (45mm). Moreover, sires have larger canines than nonsires. The tooth diminishes through wear as animals age, corresponding with, and perhaps determining, reproductive senescence. These factors combine to constrain male reproductive opportunities to a brief time span, defined by the period of maximum canine length. Sexually-selected weaponry, especially when it is nonrenewable like the primate canine tooth, is intimately tied to the male life course. Our analyses of this extremely dimorphic species indicate that sexual selection is closely intertwined with growth, development, and aging, pointing to new directions for sexual selection theory. Moreover, the primate canine tooth has potential as a simple mammalian system for testing alternative genetically-based models of aging. Finally, the tooth may record details of life histories in fossil primates, especially when sexual selection has played a role in the evolution of dimorphism.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Male reproductive success, male life history, tooth development
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:July 2008
Date first made open access:No date available

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