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Sexual Dimorphism of Polar Bears

Andrew E. Derocher, Magnus Andersen and Øystein Wiig
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 86, No. 5 (Oct., 2005), pp. 895-901
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4094434
Page Count: 8
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Sexual Dimorphism of Polar Bears
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Abstract

Sexual dimorphism in body mass, body length, head width, head length, and foreleg guard hair length of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) was examined from live-captured polar bears in Svalbard, Norway. Limited evidence of sexual dimorphism was apparent in cubs shortly after den emergence but was marked after the 1st year of life. Sexual dimorphism in adults resulted from both a higher growth rate and prolonged growth period in males. In mature animals, sexual dimorphism was greatest in mass, followed by foreleg guard hair length, head width, body length, and head length. Foreleg guard hair length was age related and hypothesized to be a form of ornamentation. Geographic variation in sexual dimorphism was evident for mass and body length for seven different populations but there was no evidence of a hyperallometric relationship in sexual dimorphism.

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