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Inbreeding, outbreeding, infant growth, and size dimorphism in captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

Zschokke, Samuel and Baur, Bruno. (2002) Inbreeding, outbreeding, infant growth, and size dimorphism in captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Canadian journal of zoology, 80. pp. 2014-2023.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249124

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Abstract

Effects of inbreeding and outbreeding on gestation period, birth mass, infant mortality, and growth, as well as the ontogeny of sexual size dimorphism, were analyzed in captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis L., 1758) using studbook data. Neither gestation period nor birth mass were affected by inbreeding. However, inbred calves grew slower and had a lower mortality rate than non-inbred ones. It is suggested that the severe bottleneck experienced in the early twentieth century by the Kaziranga population, from which most captive-born Indian rhinoceroses descend, resulted in strong inbreeding with consequent purging of recessive lethal alleles. Outbred individuals (offspring of matings between individuals from the Kaziranga and the Chitwan populations) had a higher infant mortality rate, suggesting that the two populations are genetically partially incompatible. Among captive individuals, adult males were found to be heavier (2300 kg) and larger (shoulder height = 172 cm) than females (1800 kg, 160 cm). There were, however, no sex differences in gestation period, birth mass, or infant growth. This suggests that sexual dimorphism in adults is the result of a longer growth period in males rather than a difference in growth rate between the sexes.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Natur- Landschafts- und Umweltschutz > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Zschokke, Samuel and Baur, Bruno
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:National Research Council
ISSN:0008-4301
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:28
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:04

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