October 15, 2008

From David Ewing:

Re: “Other half” of Darwin’s theory passes test (Oct. 13): Are we seeing natural selection only through the eyes of the peacock, and ignoring the peahen? “Sexual selection” seems to provide only half an explanation for physical traits and behaviors. It makes sense from the suitor’s point of view. An investment in otherwise burdensome and danger-attracting paraphenalia attracts mates and causes the suitor’s genes to be spread, or at least passed along. But the advantage to the object of these displays is less obvious. Why is it advantageous to the peahen to fall for the gaudy, predator-attracting plumage of the peacock? It doesn’t sound as though this would contribute to the survivability of her genes - other than by steering predators away from the brood and toward the flashy dresser.

David Ewing
Venice, CA


Blogger Laura said...

I would guess that only a healthy peacock could mount the kind of display that attracts a lot of peahen attention.

October 15, 2008 1:52 PM  

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