The magnificent riflebird’s crazy courtship dance

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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.

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