Lowering sample size in comparative analyses can indicate a correlation where there is none: example from Rensch's rule in primates.
The fact that characters may co-vary in organism groups because of shared ancestry and not always because of functional correlations was the initial rationale for developing phylogenetic comparative methods. Here we point out a case where similarity due to shared ancestry can produce an undesired effect when conducting an independent contrasts analysis. Under special circumstances, using a low sample size will produce results indicating an evolutionary correlation between characters where an analysis of the same pattern utilizing a larger sample size will show that this correlation does not exist. This is the opposite effect of increased sample size to that expected; normally an increased sample size increases the chance of finding a correlation. The situation where the problem occurs is when co-variation between the two continuous characters analysed is clumped in clades; e.g. when some phylogenetically conservative factors affect both characters simultaneously. In such a case, the correlation between the two characters becomes contingent on the number of clades sharing this conservative factor that are included in the analysis, in relation to the number of species contained within these clades. Removing species scattered evenly over the phylogeny will in this case remove the exact variation that diffuses the evolutionary correlation between the two characters - the variation contained within the clades sharing the conservative factor. We exemplify this problem by discussing a parallel in nature where the described problem may be of importance. This concerns the question of the presence or absence of Rensch's rule in primates.
BACKGROUND The macroevolutionary pattern of Rensch's Rule (positive allometry of sexual size dimorphism) has had mixed support in turtles. Using the largest carapace length dataset and only large-scale body mass dataset assembled for this group, we determine (a) whether turtles conform to Rensch's Rule at the order, suborder, and family levels, and (b) whether inferences regarding allometry of ...متن کامل
Proximate causes of Rensch's rule: does sexual size dimorphism in arthropods result from sex differences in development time?
A prominent interspecific pattern of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is Rensch's rule, according to which male body size is more variable or evolutionarily divergent than female body size. Assuming equal growth rates of males and females, SSD would be entirely mediated, and Rensch's rule proximately caused, by sexual differences in development times, or sexual bimaturism (SBM), with the larger sex...متن کامل
BACKGROUND Most animal species display Sexual Size Dimorphism (SSD): males and females consistently attain different sizes, most frequently with females being larger than males. However the selective mechanisms driving patterns of SSD remain controversial. 'Rensch's rule' proposes a general scaling phenomenon for all taxa, whereby SSD increases with average body size when males are larger than ...متن کامل
BACKGROUND There exists substantial variation in human stature and sexual stature dimorphism that has been attributed to both genetic and environmental variables. A few studies have previously investigated possible relationships between latitude and stature, building on the idea that variation in climate can influence body size (Bergmann's rule). This change in body size can in turn have influe...متن کامل
Sexual selection explains sex-specific growth plasticity and positive allometry for sexual size dimorphism in a reef fish.
In 1950, Rensch noted that in clades where males are the larger sex, sexual size dimorphism (SSD) tends to be more pronounced in larger species. This fundamental allometric relationship is now known as 'Rensch's rule'. While most researchers attribute Rensch's rule to sexual selection for male size, experimental evidence is lacking. Here, we suggest that ultimate hypotheses for Rensch's rule sh...متن کامل