Raw data for: Fannin, L. D., Plavcan, J. M., Daegling, D. J., & McGraw, W. S. (2021); Oral processing, sexual selection, and size variation in the circumorbital region of Colobus and Piliocolobus
Fannin, Luke (2021), Raw data for: Fannin, L. D., Plavcan, J. M., Daegling, D. J., & McGraw, W. S. (2021); Oral processing, sexual selection, and size variation in the circumorbital region of Colobus and Piliocolobus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.w6m905qnw
Objectives: The function of the browridge in primates is a subject of enduring debate. Early studies argued for a role in resisting masticatory stresses, but recent studies have suggested sexual signaling as a biological role. We tested associations between circumorbital form, diet, oral processing, and social behavior in two species of colobus monkey–the King colobus (Colobus polykomos) and Western red or Bay colobus (Piliocolobus badius).
Materials and Methods: We quantified circumorbital size and dimorphism in a sample of 98 crania. Controlling for age and facial size, we tested whether variation in circumorbital morphology can be explained by variation in diet, oral processing behavior, masticatory muscle size, and mating system. To contextualize our results, we included a broader sample of facial dimorphism for 67 anthropoid species.
Results: Greater circumorbital thickness is unrelated to the stresses of food processing. King colobus engages in longer bouts of anterior tooth use, chews more per ingestive event, and processes a tougher diet, yet circumorbital thickness of C. polykomos is reduced compared to P. badius. Differences in circumorbital development do not vary with wear or facial size. Greater sexual dimorphism is present in P. badius; comparisons across anthropoids indicated patterns of circumorbital dimorphism were decoupled from overall size dimorphism.
Conclusions: The expanded circumorbits of male red colobus monkeys evolved in response to intense male-male competition. This hypothesis is consistent with the pattern across anthropoid primates and highlights the underappreciated role of sexual selection in shaping the primate face.