Inter-sexual differences in craniometric parameters were studied in sables of varying sex and age in natural (n = 2338) and farm (n = 516) populations. In nature, the differences between the skull size in males and females are, as a rule, highly significant (p < 0.001) and the size dynamics correlate well with age. In the farm population, the difference in the skull size between the sexes is statistically significant (p < 0.01), but the correlation of sizes with age is absent. In natural populations, index of sexual dimorphism (ISD) correlate positively with age, with a maximum correlation found in the animals aged nine and a minimum found in juveniles. The index of sexual dimorphism grows considerably until three years of age, after which the dynamics resemble a cyclical process with a repetition of maximum values each fourth year with a general trend of growth in the ISD. The highest values of ISD in farm sables are registered at 3–5 years of age, while the minimum ones are noted in the age groups of 6–9 and 13–14 years of age. In nature, juveniles aged 6–10 months are characterized by a tendency to general growth (which is not manifested in the introduced population from the basin of the Vakh River) and increase in the SD index with age. The Vakh population is characterized by a decrease in the SD index. The specific rate of skull growth in males is 1.8-fold higher than in females. The age dynamics of the skull size and the vectors of rates between the sexes are not in accordance, as a rule. The results of our study correspond to the theory by Geodakyan (1991) about dichronomorphism. In our opinion, the differences in age manifestations of sexual dimorphism and postnatal skull growth in natural and farm sable populations are determined by the different directions of selection.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 13, 2012
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