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The magnificent riflebird’s crazy courtship dance

2 minutes

The evolutionary value of ‘artistic‘ skills when predators are few

The magnificent riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) has evolved in a habitat largely free of predators and other existential threats. This relatively peaceful environment has allowed the male, and his fellows in the New Guinea birds-of-paradise family, to develop some of the most vibrantly colourful plumage and flamboyant mating rituals in the world. The Magnificent Riflebird’s Crazy Courtship Dance shows the fascinating, surprising paths evolution can sometimes take, and the value of an ‘artistic’ skill set in certain corners of the animal kingdom.

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/History of Science
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Philip Mirowski

Essay/History of Science
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Perverse incentives and the misuse of quantitative metrics have undermined the integrity of scientific research

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