Careful or colorful? The evolution of animal ornaments
Daniel Abrams, Northwestern University
Extravagant and costly ornaments (e.g., deer antlers or peacock feathers) are found throughout the animal kingdom. Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that female courtship preferences drive ornament development through sexual selection. In this talk I will describe a minimal mathematical model for the evolution of animal ornaments, and will show that even a greatly simplified model makes nontrivial predictions for the types of ornaments we expect to find in nature.