sexual selection

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Related to sexual selection: natural selection

sexual selection:

see selectionselection.
In Darwinism, the mechanism of natural selection is considered of major importance in the process of evolution. Popular formulations sometimes envisage a struggle for existence in which direct competition for mates or for various factors in the environment (e.g.
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Sexual Selection


the particular form of natural selection distinguished by the evolutionary development of secondary sex characteristics. These characteristics include the bright nuptial plumage of many birds, including ducks and grouse, the dances of insects, the mating calls of birds, the fighting of male birds and mammals, the varied sound signals of males used to attract females, and the odoriferous glands of insects and mammals used for attracting the opposite sex. Prominent characteristics, such as coloration, develop chiefly in males. Females, especially during the reproductive period, are usually protected by appropriate behavior, coloration, and form.

The primary basis for sexual selection was the divergence in the identifying characteristics of males and females, which probably facilitated inbreeding of the same species and prevented crossbreeding with other species. Subsequently, individuals with more pronounced sexual characteristics attracted the opposite sex more easily and had the advantage in reproduction.

The ethological or behavioral mechanisms of isolation are partially affected by sexual selection. The course of sexual selection sometimes conflicts with other trends of natural selection. Genotypes that are preserved make reproduction more successful but do not increase the viability of the species as a whole. However, this does not justify contrasting sexual selection with natural selection or considering it an independent factor in evolution. Sexual selection was first suggested by C. Darwin in 1859 and later substantiated in 1871.


Darwin, C. Proiskhozhdenie vidov putem estestvennogo otbora. In Soch, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939. (Translated from English.)
Darwin, C. Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka i polovoi otbor. In Soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1953. (Translated from English.)
Shmal’gauzen, I. I. Problemy darvinizma, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1969.


sexual selection

[¦seksh·ə·wəl si′lek·shən]
A special form of natural selection responsible for the evolution of traits that promote success in competition for mates.
References in periodicals archive ?
Future work will look at spatial changes in the sex ratio in relation to sexual selection in this fish.
Because the steep cline was observed in the male genitalia, a character widely postulated to be under sexual selection (Eberhard 1996), the results have a number of intriguing implications.
Parental care and sexual selection are intimately linked and expected to co-evolve with one another (Kokko and Jennions, 2008; Alonzo, 2012; Kokko et al.
Our view of sexual selection has moved on considerably since Darwin's time, most notably because we now realize that sexual selection is not constrained to act exclusively prior to mating.
Moreover, the principle of sexual selection implies that, in addition to regulating bodily functions, the nervous system indirectly influences the progressive development of bodily and mental structures such as ornamental appendages; cognitive skills such as musical ability; and characteristics such as courage and perseverance.
With great success, evolutionary psychologists have applied the principles of sexual selection and parental investment theory to the domain of human mating.
He bluntly admits that "annexing music wholly to the procreative interests in the way that sexual selection suggests misses a great deal of the art itself as we understand it today.
Debate has centred upon trying to unravel the reasons for this form; raw material, knapping technique, subsistence function, cognition, social context of manufacture and sexual selection have all been proposed as key factors (Jones 1994; White 1998; Gamble 1999; Kohn & Mithen 1999; McPherron 2000; Gowlett 2006).
Sexual selection for male sacrifice in the Australian redback spider.
Best known for her Pulitzer-nominated Philadelphia Inquirer column, "Carnal Knowledge," about the science of sexuality, Flam has a gift for making talk about Y chromosomes and sexual selection as appealing as anecdotes about men attending a "seduction boot camp.
One of Roughgarden's main examples is the prevalence of homosexual behavior among animals--she documented some 300 such cases--which cannot be explained with recourse to sexual selection, which envisions a competitive struggle among members of the same sex.