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Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: detection and implications

Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: detection and implications
Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: detection and implications
Many fossil animals bear traits such as crests or horns that probably functioned as sexually selected signals or weapons. Interpretations of these structures as functioning in mate choice or intrasexual contests are often controversial, with interpretations based on biomechanics or physiology being favoured by many. Although testing hypotheses based on sexual selection can be difficult, especially given that there is no single, reliable means of recognising sexual selection, we argue that it is not impossible; indeed, there are now several cases where sexual selection is strongly supported. In other cases, a careful study of features such as sexual dimorphism, ontogeny, and allometry, coupled with testing of alternative hypotheses, will be necessary to distinguish between possible explanations for exaggerated features.
fossil, prehistoric, sexual selection, ornament, weapon, crest, horn, exaggerated trait
0169-5347
38-47
Knell, Robert J.
ba0236e0-d64d-4852-af4f-3f9f57f9e5ea
Naish, Darren
6cd448f6-99cc-4c45-93d1-bdd24ee3d281
Tomkins, Joseph L.
9a4b02d2-d24a-4b28-b4b3-d5d559e5cc08
Hone, David W.E.
34ab053c-9e0d-4a46-818b-ca1b8d89381a
Knell, Robert J.
ba0236e0-d64d-4852-af4f-3f9f57f9e5ea
Naish, Darren
6cd448f6-99cc-4c45-93d1-bdd24ee3d281
Tomkins, Joseph L.
9a4b02d2-d24a-4b28-b4b3-d5d559e5cc08
Hone, David W.E.
34ab053c-9e0d-4a46-818b-ca1b8d89381a

Knell, Robert J., Naish, Darren, Tomkins, Joseph L. and Hone, David W.E. (2013) Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: detection and implications. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 28 (1), 38-47. (doi:10.1016/j.tree.2012.07.015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many fossil animals bear traits such as crests or horns that probably functioned as sexually selected signals or weapons. Interpretations of these structures as functioning in mate choice or intrasexual contests are often controversial, with interpretations based on biomechanics or physiology being favoured by many. Although testing hypotheses based on sexual selection can be difficult, especially given that there is no single, reliable means of recognising sexual selection, we argue that it is not impossible; indeed, there are now several cases where sexual selection is strongly supported. In other cases, a careful study of features such as sexual dimorphism, ontogeny, and allometry, coupled with testing of alternative hypotheses, will be necessary to distinguish between possible explanations for exaggerated features.

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More information

Published date: January 2013
Keywords: fossil, prehistoric, sexual selection, ornament, weapon, crest, horn, exaggerated trait
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 347657
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/347657
ISSN: 0169-5347
PURE UUID: f3d026e5-a1bf-49b9-b9b6-1bb660c41b02

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Date deposited: 28 Jan 2013 15:06
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 15:03

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Contributors

Author: Robert J. Knell
Author: Darren Naish
Author: Joseph L. Tomkins
Author: David W.E. Hone

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