Peacock coutship

To: Nathan <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: Peacock coutship
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 16:55:37 +1000
Hi Nathan,

    I have not heard Dr Karl on the subject, but it seems to me to be most
unlikely that the female decides whether to court a male before she even
sees the male's tail.

She has to see a male to court him; why can't she see his tail?  Does Dr
Karl reckon that until her hormones render her in the mood for courting, all
the males are invisible to her?

Richard Dawkins, who has gone into the subject of evolution rather more than
most scientists, certainly doesn't agree with what you quote from Dr Karl.
The Peahens role in evolving the peacock tale is mentioned at length in his
book** "The Greatest Show on Earth - the Evidence for Evolution".  I give
you just one quote to indicate the nature of Dawkins' opinion.  At page 62:

    "Peahens (we don't know whether consciously and deliberately, but lets
guess not) choose attractive peacocks for breeding, again preserving
attractive genes." 


**  my copy in paperback;  Bantam Press, 2009.

> From: Nathan <>
> Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 08:54:34 +1100
> To: birding-aus <>
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Peacock coutship
> I was listening to an old podcast of Dr Karl yesterday and he said that
> the female peafowl decided whether to court a male before she even sees
> the males tail and that the tail was an 'Evolutionary Accident' I
> don't doubt this as fact but I am wondering how on earth you would
> test that?
> ~Thanks
> ~Nathan Ruser


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