Rensch's rule

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Rensch's rule is a biological rule on allometrics, concerning the relationship between the extent of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) and which sex is larger. Across species within a lineage, size dimorphism will increase with increasing body size when the male is the larger sex, and decrease with increasing average body size when the female is the larger sex. The rule was proposed by the evolutionary biologist Bernhard Rensch in 1950.[1]

Examples of phylogenetic lineages that appear to follow this rule include primates, pinnipeds, and artiodactyls.[2]


  1. ^ Rensch, B. (1950). Die Abhängigkeit der relativen Sexualdifferenz von der Körpergrösse. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 1:58-69.
  2. ^ Fairbairn, D.J. (1997). "Allometry for Sexual Size Dimorphism: Pattern and Process in the Coevolution of Body Size in Males and Females". Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 28 (1): 659–687. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.28.1.659.