The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - And Us Read Online Free - A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences--what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"--create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world.
In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?
Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum--reviving Darwin's own views--thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons--for the mere pleasure of it--is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.
The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
|Title||:||The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - And Us|
|Number of Pages||:||400 pages|
January 07, 2018
Um livro um tanto controverso perto de outros que costumo ler. Prum trabalhou com preferência sexual em aves e trás uma perspectiva bem diferente para o tema. Primeiro por sugerir algo que acho bem razoável, que a hipótese nula em seleção sexual deveria ser assumir que as fêmeas preferem algo sim...
December 14, 2017
You have to make it past the 2/3rd of the book that’s about bird and duck sex to get to the part about why men have dangly penises. Not that the bird sex isn’t fascinating, but obviously I’m much more curious about human sex. This book was so interesting. Aesthetic beauty as an evolutionary force...
January 24, 2018
Over the years, I've interviewed Prum several times for various articles about birds--from the way some birds can sing with their wing feathers to the baroque sexual anatomy of ducks. In those interviews, the conversation would sometimes take us into short digressions about his big ideas about be...
June 07, 2017
Great until the last two chapters, then some slippage
This book is worth five stars for two starter reasons alone.
One is the sheer depth and breadth of Prum's speculative intelligence, especially in getting back to what he rightly postulates was Darwin's original stance on sexual selection.
January 21, 2018
This book's title *and* subtitle are not enticing enough. It should simply be called "Sextastic Sexiness Sexplains Everything (Not Just Sex)." Not only would it sum up the main point of the book, but it also explains why it's as much a page-turner as it is a head-scratcher, and not (just) a confo...
December 29, 2017
THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY. (2017). Richard O. Prum. ***1/2.
The author is a professor of ornithology at Yale, and uses this platform to reawaken interest in Darwin’s neglected work on ‘aesthetic mate choice.’ Of course, being an ornithologist, he gets there through his life-long study of birds and t...
March 14, 2018
It's often forgotten that Darwin was not, strictly speaking, the bloke who discovered evolution. What he did discover was arguably far more important: the mechanism through which evolution takes place - natural selection. It's natural selection which answers the 'how' of evolution, the means by w...
January 13, 2018
I'm about a quarter of the way in, and I've liked his argument and some of the anecdotes. Skimming ahead, it looks like a lot of reiteration coming up, plus more bird stories. He writes well, but I just don't care that much about the mainstream view vs. Prum's revival of Darwin's female choice in...
June 01, 2017
Animal behavior, sexual evolution, and feminism. "This book has taken the concept of beauty from the humanities and applied it to the sciences by defining beauty as the result of a coevolutionary dance between desire and display." In the concluding chapter of his book, this sentence beautifully s...
January 29, 2018
Prum clearly has a grudge against the field of evolutionary biology and its focus on Darwin's evolutionary principle of Survival of the Fittest at the expense of Darwin's lesser appreciated evolutionary principle of sexual selection. His arguments seem cogent, his evidence sound, but this a book...