Sexual Dimorphism in the Craniofacial Growth of the Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus)

Meredith A. Farmer, Rebecca Z. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Variation between the sexes during ontogeny is frequently overlooked in discussions of the phylogenetic patterns of adult sexual dimorphism. Different growth trajectories can produce identical degrees and direction of adult dimorphism and the possibility exists that similarities in adults may be the result of differing growth patterns, suggesting independent evolutionary pathways among species to the seemingly identical adult morphology. We quantified the sexual dimorphism in craniofacial skeletal growth of Cavia porcellus, the guinea pig, using longitudinally collected radiographs. Guinea pigs have male-biased sexual dimorphism in size and in growth parameters, despite literature reports to the contrary. These results, analyzed with equivalent data for five species of rodents, and two outgroups representing similarly sized mammals, a rabbit and a marsupial, indicate that some aspects of sexual differences in growth follow phylogenetic lines, while others are a function of whether the species has male- or female-biased dimorphism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Craniofacial growth
  • Guinea pig
  • Heterochrony
  • Ontogeny
  • Rodent
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Anatomy


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