Search Results for: "Richard Prum"

Richard Prum explains homosexuality as the evolutionary result of selection for female autonomy

I’ve talked a few times about Richard Prum’s new book The Evolution of Beauty, which asserts that female choice drives the evolution of male sexually dimorphic traits in nature, like fancy plumage and mating dances. That’s not in doubt, but Prum’s big claim is that what females are seeking in mates are arbitrary “aesthetic” features […]

A new review (and critique) of Richard Prum’s book on sexual selection

I’ve now read Richard O. Prum’s new book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us (I’d highlighted the work earlier in my critique of his NY Times article about the book). Click on the screenshot to go to the book’s Amazon site. (Prum is a professor of ornithology, ecology, […]

Radiolab on sexual selection in birds

Here’s the latest Radiolab podcast, this time about sexual selection in birds and about Richard Prum’s revival of the idea of “runaway sexual selection,” which he calls the “beauty happens” theory. (It’s in his book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory Shapes the Animal World—and Us.) I’ve written about Prum’s book before, and about my […]

More about sexual selection in the New York Times

With the publication of his book The Evolution of Beauty (subtitle: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us), Yale ornithologist Richard Prum gained an extraordinary amount of publicity in the popular press.  His theme was that “beauty”—that is, the evolution of extreme and stunning displays and ornamentation in male birds—results from a […]

Bufflehead courtship

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) are cute diving sea ducks that have a pronounced sexual dimorphism, especially in the breeding season. Here are the males vs. females from the Cornell bird site. This will help you pick out the sexes in the video below.  The video shows a group of bufflehead males trying to impress a few […]

A critical review of Prum’s “The Evolution of Beauty” in Evolution

Richard Prum’s 2017 book on sexual selection, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us, has gotten a lot of popular press, and a fair number of positive reviews, but it hasn’t fared very well in the scientific community.  Prum’s thesis, which is that the “runaway” model […]

Thursday: Hili Dialogue

It’s Thursday, October 4, 2018, and the Chicago weather is beginning its inexorable slide into cold. Here are the highs and lows in both Celsius (top) and Fahrenheit (bottom) for the week: It’s National Taco Day (didn’t we just have National Soft Taco Day?), and World Animal Day, which is also the feast day of […]

The AAAS commits the naturalistic fallacy (and gets the insect wrong!)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is sending us all frequent emails urging us to join; perhaps they’re short of cash. (I’m not a member, as I oppose their DoSER program that tries to reconcile science and religion.) The AAAS often uses current events, like Trump’s election (they don’t do this explicitly, but […]

Which book would you hurl across the room?

Grania not only sent me this tweet, but answered the question. The tweet: Has anyone actually *literally* thrown a book they disliked across a room? — Mac Rogers (@macwrites) September 1, 2018 Grania’s answer (brought up a Catholic, she didn’t capitalize “bible”—probably from disgust): In my case it would be the bible. Few Catholics read […]

Male pipefish who get pregnant reduce investment in their offspring if they see a sexy female

This new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B caught my eye because of its title (abstract here but paper behind a paywall; judicious inquiry might yield you a pdf).  Check out the title and the abstract, and I’ll explain a bit of the results below (I read the paper quickly): First, a […]