Biological Ornamentation, also known as sexual ornamentation, are features or sexual signals (see video below) which can be used to help assess the quality of a mate (Kekäläinen, et al, 2010).
Theories Behind OrnamenationEdit
Charles Darwin first proposed the idea of sexual selection in his book The Decent of Man. Darwin proposed that biological ornamentation was important because females selected, or chose, mates who displayed elaborate plumage and/or who exhibited remarkable displays (Darwin, 1874). Ornamenation could also be utilized in male-male competition during courtship (Darwin, 1874; Kekäläinen, et al, 2010). For example the antlers of a male deer could be considered biological ornamentation that might attract a female but are also an ornamentation utilized during male-male combat, particularly during mating season (Clements, et al, 2010).
Examples of Ornamentation Edit
Examples of biological ornamentation can be found throughout the animal kingdom. Sexual ornamentation can be found in fish such as the Trinidadian guppies who has a rich color display (Ruell, et al, 2013). It can be found in African male lions who posses manes as sexual ornamentation (Kays, & Patterson, 2002). Ornamentation is also found in various forms within the Birds of Paradise of New Guinea (see video below).
Clements, M. N., Clutton-Brock, T. H., Albon, S. D., Pemberton, J. M., & Kruuk, L. B. (2010). Getting the timing right: antler growth phenology and sexual selection in a wild red deer population. Oecologia, 164(2), 357-368.
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Kays, R. W., & Patterson, B. D. (2002). Mane variation in African lions and its social correlates. Canadian Journal Of Zoology, 80(3), 471.
Kekäläinen, J., Valkama, H., Huuskonen, H., & Taskinen, J. (2010). Multiple Sexual Ornamentation Signals Male Quality and Predicts Female Preference in Minnows. Ethology, 116(10), 895-903.
Ruell, E., Handelsman, C., Hawkins, C., Sofaer, H., Ghalambor, C., & Angeloni, L. (2013). Fear, food and sexual ornamentation: plasticity of colour development in Trinidadian guppies. Proceedings. Biological Sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1758), 20122019.
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