The evolution of acoustic size exaggeration in terrestrial mammals

Charlton, Benjamin and Reby, David (2016) The evolution of acoustic size exaggeration in terrestrial mammals. Nature Communications, 7. ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that some mammals possess adaptations that enable them to produce vocal signals with much lower fundamental frequency (F0) and formant frequency spacing (ΔF) than expected for their size. Although these adaptations are assumed to reflect selection pressures for males to lower frequency components and exaggerate body size in reproductive contexts, this hypothesis has not been tested across a broad range of species. Here we show that male terrestrial mammals produce vocal signals with lower ΔF (but not F0) than expected for their size in mating systems with greater sexual size dimorphism. We also reveal that males produce calls with higher than expected F0 and ΔF in species with increased sperm competition. This investigation confirms that sexual selection favours the use of ΔF as an acoustic size exaggerator, and supports the notion of an evolutionary trade-off between pre-copulatory signalling displays and sperm production.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Alexandra Barnard
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2016 12:56
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2017 15:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/62109

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