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Sexual selection in dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:


Robert J. Knell, Darren Naish, Joseph L. Tomkins & David W.E. Hone (2012)
Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: detection and implications.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (advance online publication)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2012.07.015
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534712001875


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.