Section 8
Chapter 7,885

The earliest fossil evidence for sexual dimorphism in primates

Krishtalka, L.; Stucky, R.K.; Beard, K.C.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 87(13): 5223-5226


ISSN/ISBN: 0027-8424
PMID: 2367535
DOI: 10.2307/2354585
Accession: 007884678

Recently obtained material of the early Eocene primate Notharctus venticolus, including two partial skulls from a single stratigraphic horizon, provides the geologically earliest evidence of sexual dimorphism in canine size and shape in primates and the only unequivocal evidence for such dimorphism in strepsirhines. By analogy with living platyrrhines, these data suggest that Northarctus venticolus may have lived in polygynous social groups characterized by a relatively high level of intermale competition for mates and other limited resources. The anatomy of the upper incisors and related evidence imply that Notharctus is not as closely related to extant lemuriform primates as has been recently proposed. The early Eocene evidence for canine sexual dimorphism reported here, and its occurrence in a nonanthropoid, indicates that in the order Primates such a condition is either primitive or evolved independently more than once.

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