Sunday, March 7, 2010
How Sex Drives Evolution
In our behavior unit, we learned about how animals had different types of courtship rituals to attract a mate. Are there other ways in which organisms attract mates of the opposite sex? Jerry Coyne mentions in page 144 of Why Evolution is True that sometimes species have adaptations that seem pointless in survival. For example, the male peacock, which has an extravagant display of tail plumage--which is detrimental in its ability to camouflage from predators as well as flight--is an example of a trait that clearly hurts the individuals survival. Despite this, creatures like peacocks and stag beetles continue to develop these disadvantageous traits. Give examples of organisms who exhibit sexual dimorphisms (differences between males and females of a species) and explain how these differences can give an evolutionary advantage. How does evolution explain how these seemingly disabling and detrimental traits actually help in survival of the species as a whole?