Sure, Rudolph has a red nose, but does it have antlers? Is ornamentation even beneficial to any species?
Why do female reindeer grow antlers?
“Males of almost all deer species grow antlers, used to battle for females. But reindeer are the only species in which the females also grow them, and an explanation can be found by looking at bovids, a closely related family including antelopes, goats and sheep.”
Runaway selection hypothesis
“Runaway selection hypothesis, in biology, an explanation first proposed by English statistician R.A. Fisher in the 1930s to account for the rapid evolution of specific physical traits in male animals of certain species. Some traits—such as prominent plumage, elaborate courtship behaviours, or extreme body ornamentation—are so strongly preferred by females of certain species that they will mate only with those males possessing the strongest expression of the trait.”
Study explains evolution phenomenon that puzzled Darwin
“A new mathematical model developed by Northwestern University researchers explains why two distinct subspecies evolve in ornamented animals: one with flashy, “costly” ornaments for attracting mates and one with subdued, “low-cost” ornaments.”
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Written by: Jules Suzdaltsev