From evolutionary allometry to sexual display: (A reply to Holman and Bro-Jørgensen)

Pasquale Raia*, Federico Passaro, Francesco Carotenuto, Shai Meiri, Paolo Piras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional wisdom holds that the complex shapes of deer antlers are produced under the sole influence of sexual selection. We questioned this view by demonstrating that trends for increased body size evolution passively yield more-complex ornaments, even in organisms where no effect of sexual selection is possible, with similar allometric slopes. Recent investigations suggest that sexual selection on antlers of larger deer species is stronger than that in smaller species; hence, the use of conspicuous antlers for display in large male deer is a secondary function driven by especially intense sexual selection on these large-bodied species. Since ancestral deer were small and had very simple antlers, such an intense selection on antlers shape was probably absent in early deer. Therefore, the evolution of complex ornaments is coupled with body size evolution, even in deer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-277
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Antler
  • Display
  • Sexual selection


Dive into the research topics of 'From evolutionary allometry to sexual display: (A reply to Holman and Bro-Jørgensen)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this