Craniofacial heterochrony and sexual dimorphism in the short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica)

M. Maunz, R. Z. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Craniofacial growth of the short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, was measured to determine differences in growth between bones of the viscerocranium and of the neurocranium and between sexes. Initially, the relative lengths of neurocranial to viscerocranial bones were about the same for both sexes. Viscerocranial bones grew at a faster rate in both sexes, while neurocranial bones grew for a longer period of time at a slower rate. Although females exhibited faster rates of growth, they ultimately had smaller skulls than males, because males were initially larger and grew for a longer period of time. Differences in patterns of growth of the two regions of the skull probably are associated with changes in masticatory function due to weaning and development of the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1005
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume77
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • craniofacial
  • growth
  • heterochrony
  • Monodelphis domestica
  • opossum
  • sexual dimorphism
  • skull

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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