ZSL Scientific Meetings: short reports Sexual selection, genetic variation and speciation



Rudyard Kipling was able to explain “How the Leopard got its Spots” and “How the Rhino got its Skin”, but he did not offer any clue as to “How the Peacock got its Tail”, which is an issue that has long taxed the minds of evolutionary biologists. In fact, the males of many animal species produce extravagant ornaments that appear to serve no really useful purpose. We know that, at least in some cases, these flamboyant displays are to do with sexual selection; they are used by females in making their choice of mates. However, we do not understand the consequences of such behaviour for other evolutionary topics.