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View Diary: A More Ancient World: The Eye of the Beholder (49 comments)

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  •  "completely ignored... patterns of parental care" (10+ / 0-)

    I would've thought that would be an obvious candidate for (at least partially) explaining impossible-to-hide coloring of one sex but not the other: take a gander at which sex is tied down taking care of the kids.

    Is that not a useful correlating explainer?

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 05:22:04 PM PST

    •  That's an interesting idea (12+ / 0-)

      Among song birds it would be rare to find an example of a species in which the males provide no parental care at all.  In the grouse/pheasant group and in ducks there are certainly species where males don't provide care - in those cases the young usually leave the nest immediately upon hatching.

      What I was getting at is that parental care is a form of investment in offspring, just like the energy involved in making sperm and eggs.  Care affects the rate at which individuals can remate and thus the potential strength of sexual selection.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 05:32:44 PM PST

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      •  Doesn't require that extremity... (8+ / 0-)

        It only requires species where the "norm" is for the mom to take care of the kids, and look and see if it "just so happens" that the boys are the brightly speckled sex. (Or the reverse.)

        The basic idea is simple, and common enough in nature: someone tied down to little helpless young'uns AND has a bullseye painted on them is a) more likely to get eaten (removing the young'uns' food source), and b) more likely to get the young'uns themselves eaten.

        Indeed, there may well have been species where the primary care giver had nature-made bullseyes. They would be called "extinct" in today's jargon. One of nature's many wellitseemedlikeagoodideaatthetime-isms (So the hypothesis goes.)

        I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

        by punditician on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 05:39:21 PM PST

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        •  I've thought a bit more about this (0+ / 0-)

          There are some bird specific ideas about sexual selection out there and this may well be one of them (it sounds familiar).  I'm not an ornithologist and was using birds as examples because of their familiarity (and colors).

          Most ground nesting birds are quite cryptic with a few exceptions such as bobolinks which do have cryptic females and bright males.  I'm sure there's some papers in the ornithological literature on this very topic.

          "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

          by matching mole on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 06:51:41 AM PST

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