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Sex, Size and Gender RolesEvolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphism$
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Daphne J. Fairbairn, Wolf U. Blanckenhorn, and Tamás Székely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208784.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Sexual size dimorphism in birds

Sexual size dimorphism in birds

(p.27) Chapter 3 Sexual size dimorphism in birds
Sex, Size and Gender Roles

Tamás Székely (Contributor Webpage)

Terje Lislevand

Jordi Figuerola

Oxford University Press

Birds provide excellent model organisms for testing functional explanations of sexual size dimorphism (SSD), since many species are exceptionally well-studied in nature. This chapter reviews four major functional hypotheses of SSD, and tests these using data on five morphometric traits from over 2,500 bird species. This comprehensive analysis reveals that SSD is male-biased in most avian species and families, and that allometry consistent with Rensch's rule occurs in significantly more avian families than expected by chance. Using cross-species analyses, the chapter shows that the pattern of SSD is most consistent with patterns of sexual selection, specifically with the Mating competition and the Display agility hypotheses. Sexual selection, however, is unlikely to explain all variation in SSD, and further work is essential on ecological use of resources and fecundity selection.

Keywords:   allometry, display agility, mating competition, Rensch's rule, sexual selection

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