We studied characteristics of paired antlers, including types of asymmetry, from 1,501 Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas). We observed no evidence of antisymmetry in moose antlers, but number of tines was greater on left than right antlers, indicating directional asymmetry. Absolute and relative fluctuating asymmetry (FA) occurred for palm characteristics but not for beam circumference. Relative FA varied inversely with the overall size of antlers for attributes of the palm, which was expected for a secondary sexual characteristic. Smaller-antlered males exhibited greater FA than did larger-antlered moose in palm characteristics. Because large-antlered males, which mate most often among moose and other polygynous cervids, expressed the least relative FA, we hypothesize that this metric indicates quality of individual moose. Whether symmetry of antlers is related to antler breakage or honest advertisement or whether females select mates based on FA is unknown and deserves additional study.
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