Friday, 21 February 2014

Seal evolution: Sexual dimorphism in pinnipeds arose around 27 million years ago as climate changed

February 19, 2014

Canadian Museum of Nature

Modern pinnipeds (the group that includes seals, sea lions and walruses) show a range of sexual dimorphism (large differences in size between males and females) and mating systems that span the extremes of modern mammals. A new study using the fossil record establishes that sexual dimorphism in pinnipeds, marked by harem-like behavior, arose around 27 million years ago in association with changing climatic conditions. Taken in the modern context of climate change, this research has major implications for the future of the species.

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