Books et al.Evolution

Idiosyncratic desires

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Science  02 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6341, pp. 915
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9520

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Summary

Imagine a world created by the quest for beauty, filled with colorful danc­ing and governed by the principle of autonomous sexual freedom. To access this world, according to Richard Prum, you need only take a stroll outside and watch the avian rites of spring. Departing from the economic metaphors of evolutionary theory in which female choice represented a mechanism devoid of desire, in The Evolution of Beauty, Prum argues that mate choice, and the beauty it has created, are important—even cen­tral—mechanisms of evolutionary change at almost every stage of bird evolution.