The Evolution of Beauty

“The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick.” Those are the words of Charles Darwin, and if you think for a moment about his theory of evolution by natural selection you can see why. A peacock’s feathers make the bird easy for predators to spot, they get hung up in branches and take a lot of energy to grow. So how on earth could natural selection allow such a bizarre thing to evolve? Kathryn Ryan speaks to Yale University evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum who answers that question, and many more, in his fascinating new book The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us.

The Evolution of Beauty
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