Although multiple paternity has been observed in various groups of mammals with litter sizes >1, it has not been documented in wild ungulate populations. With the use of DNA microsatellites, we investigated multiple paternity in pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) at the National Bison Range. Females in this population twin every year, and we were able to assign paternity to 25 sets of twins sired in 1999 and 2000, eleven (44%) of which were fathered by different males. Complex female mate choice is the most likely explanation for the observed pattern; however, sperm competition might contribute if a female has mated multiple times. This study represents the 1st reported example of multiple paternity in a natural ungulate population and indicates that some aspects of mammalian mating systems still are not fully understood.
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