Evolved illusion—blackest black gives bird of paradise an edge

The mating display of the male bird of paradise owes its optical extravagance to a background so black it is the envy of telescope and solar panel engineers, according to a new study published Jan. 9 in the journal Nature ...

'Most attractive' male birds don't have the best genes

'Attractive' male birds that mate with many females aren't passing on the best genes to their offspring, according to new UCL research which found promiscuity in male birds leads to small, genetic faults in the species' genome.

The origins of laughter

We know the benefits of laughter on health. But why do we laugh? What are the evolutionary origins of laughter and humour? Steven Légaré has asked these questions and has made them the subject of his master's thesis, which ...

Biologists link sexual selection and placenta formation

Sexual selection refers to species' selection for traits that are attractive to the opposite sex. This special type of natural selection enhances opportunities to mate, the tail of male peacocks being an iconic example.

When sex roles get reversed, some females develop a 'penis'

In many species, the males develop elaborated sexual traits to attract females and dissuade potential rival males through competition. Some iconic examples are the extraordinary feathers of the peacock or paradise birds, ...

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