PerspectiveEvolution

Dance Like No One Is Watching, Sing Like No One Is Listening?

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Science  04 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5983, pp. 1237-1238
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191036

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Summary

I never thought I would be enthusiastic about 24-hour video surveillance. Of course, it can still represent a troubling intrusion of government into the lives of innocent citizens, but as Rodríguez-Muñoz et al. (1) demonstrate on page 1269 of this issue, such continual observation of animals can also provide valuable and unusual insights into their ecology and evolution, particularly when directed at a sedentary population of insects. By combining genetic paternity testing with detailed observations facilitated by video technology, the scientists were able to compare laboratory with field findings in an unprecedented fashion, thereby challenging conventional wisdom about sex differences and the determinants of fitness in terms of reproductive success.