UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Why do females find ornaments attractive? The coercion-avoidance hypothesis


Pradhan, G R; van Schaik, C P (2009). Why do females find ornaments attractive? The coercion-avoidance hypothesis. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 96(2):372-382.

Abstract

Vertebrates show two major classes of sexually dimorphic traits: weaponry and ornaments. However, Darwin could not explain why their expression varies so much across lineages. We argue that coercion-avoidance can explain both the existence and taxonomic distribution of ornaments. Females maximize their fitness when they can freely choose their mates, but males are expected to use sexually dimorphic weaponry not only to displace other males, but also to overcome female preferences and thus acquire matings by force whenever they can. Females should therefore avoid coercive males and avoid using weaponry as a criterion for male quality wherever possible, and rely on male viability indicators that cannot be used to coerce females (i.e. ornaments). Ornaments predominate in birds and weaponry in mammals because female choice is less costly in birds, due to higher intrinsic female behavioural freedom and lower male monopolization potential. We also predict that specialized coercive organs occur where females have low behavioural freedom but males benefit little from weaponry in male–male contests. A review of the empirical evidence supports the basic predictions of this coercion-avoidance hypothesis. We also present a simple mathematical model that confirms the logic of this hypothesis.

Vertebrates show two major classes of sexually dimorphic traits: weaponry and ornaments. However, Darwin could not explain why their expression varies so much across lineages. We argue that coercion-avoidance can explain both the existence and taxonomic distribution of ornaments. Females maximize their fitness when they can freely choose their mates, but males are expected to use sexually dimorphic weaponry not only to displace other males, but also to overcome female preferences and thus acquire matings by force whenever they can. Females should therefore avoid coercive males and avoid using weaponry as a criterion for male quality wherever possible, and rely on male viability indicators that cannot be used to coerce females (i.e. ornaments). Ornaments predominate in birds and weaponry in mammals because female choice is less costly in birds, due to higher intrinsic female behavioural freedom and lower male monopolization potential. We also predict that specialized coercive organs occur where females have low behavioural freedom but males benefit little from weaponry in male–male contests. A review of the empirical evidence supports the basic predictions of this coercion-avoidance hypothesis. We also present a simple mathematical model that confirms the logic of this hypothesis.

Citations

11 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

5 downloads since deposited on 14 Mar 2009
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:February 2009
Deposited On:14 Mar 2009 16:45
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:53
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0024-4066
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2008.01131.x
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-11522

Download

[img]
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 1MB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations