The evolution of sexual dimorphism in the house finch. I. Population divergence in morphological covariance structure

Alexander V. Badyaev, Geoffrey E. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Patterns of genetic variation and covariation strongly affect the rate and direction of evolutionary change by limiting the amount and form of genetic variation available to natural selection. We studied evolution of morphological variance-covariance structure among seven populations of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) with a known phylogenetic history. We examined the relationship between within- and among-population covariance structure and, in particular, tested the concordance between hierarchical changes in morphological variance-covariance structure and phylogenetic history of this species. We found that among-population morphological divergence in either males or females did not follow the within-population covariance patterns. Hierarchical patterns of similarity in morphological covariance matrices were not congruent with a priori defined historical pattern of population divergence. Both of these results point to the lack of proportionality in morphological covariance structure of finch populations, suggesting that random drift alone is unlikely to account for observed divergence. Furthermore, drift alone cannot explain the sex differences in within- and among-population covariance patterns or sex-specific patterns of evolution of covariance structure. Our results suggest that extensive among-population variation in sexual dimorphism in morphological covariance structure was produced by population differences in local selection pressures acting on each sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1794
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Carpodacus mexicanus
  • Genetic correlation
  • Phenotypic covariance
  • Sexual size dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of sexual dimorphism in the house finch. I. Population divergence in morphological covariance structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this