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Sexual selection

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Sexual selection is a special form of natural selection, which acts on mating success rather than direct fitness. In many regards, natural selection and sexual selection are the same; it is, after all, difficult to reproduce if one is dead. However, because the two types of selection operate on different parts of an organism's life, they can come into competition.

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1 History 2 Natural vs. sexual selection

feather plumes. Alfred Russel Wallace for example rejected the entire concept of sexual selection and argued that the traits could be explained by ordinary natural selection which increases the fighting power and survival of males.      3 Mechanism of sexual selection 4 Sexual selection in action 5 Other examples of sexual selection 6 See also 7 Further reading 8 Footnotes [edit]History Sexual selection is the mechanism Charles Darwin proposed when he tried to understand a conspicuous class of traits that defied explanation by ordinarynatural selection for improved survival. sexual selection is any selection acting upon mating success.[1] [edit]Natural vs.. such as the greater size. . strength. his gaudy colouring and various ornaments. the limiting sex is the sex which has the higher parental investment and thus faces the most pressure to make a good mate decision. According to (Andersson. his weapons of offence or means of defence against rivals. Sexual selection has led to the derivation of some of the most bizarre adaptations in the animal kingdom. The biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan also rejected sexual selection writing "the theory meets with fatal objections at every turn" and regarded it as refuted. including some which could never have arisen by natural selection alone. whereas sexual selection favors any adaptation which enhances mating success. It wasn't until after a century had passed that sexual selection began to be accepted by the scientific community. Darwin wrote these traits are favoured by competition over mates which he termed "sexual selection". [edit]Mechanism of sexual selection As mentioned above. This is the type of selection most people think of when they hear the term. In his book The Descent of Man (1871) he described the traits of sexual selection as "sexual differences. The first of these is intersexual selection (often called "female choice". In evolutionary biology. and pugnacity of the male. and it operates via the choice of the limiting sex when it comes to mating partners. though females don't always do the choosing). and from a variety of empirical studies. 1994) the idea that conspicuous male display. colors. or the number of copulations. In the 1970's the theory of sexual selection gained support from genetic and game theory models. sexual selection The key difference between sexual and natural selection is that natural selection acts on traits which increase fitness. his power of song and other such characters. and it can come in two forms.. and other secondary sex ornaments evolve through female choice met much early skepticism from the scientific community.

This form of selection is different from intersexual selection because the limiting sex is not making the choice. which natural selection would normally "punish". a mutation arises which codes for a female preference for long tails. See the example below for more clarification. as natural selection would initially punish any trait which decreases fitness. and the trait which allows them to mate more is heritable. but runaway sexual selection can result in extreme expressions of traits. This is because animals which mate more have more children. runaway sexual selection made them into the gaudy things we see today. the average tail length increases.When this is the case. It would. this selection comes into play when members of one sex compete with each other for mating access to the other sex. Once the tails continue to increase past their optimal size. and let's say this bird's fitness is directly related to its tail length. Let's start with some species of bird. the female preference and natural selection have been seeing eye-to-eye. Althought natural selection first gave rise to longer tails. because the longer-tailed specimens have more offspring.  the highly ornamental plumage of most male birds (female choice) . Just as natural selection favors any heritable trait which increases fitness. As natural selection operates. Usually these traits begin as honest signs of fitness (the "good genes"theory). sexual selection favors any trait which enhances mating success. But what happens when the birds' tails reach their optimal length? Up until now. rather. [edit]Sexual selection in action It may be difficult to envision how runaway sexual selection could give rise to the wild array of ornamentation we see today. Whether sexual selection is operating inter. be beneficial for a female to prefer longer-tailed males if their offspring will also have longer tails and be more fit (this is the basis of the "good genes" theory). they will continue to prefer the longest-tailed males. the end result is the same. As its name implies. the pressure is then on the other sex to evolve traits that make them attractive to the limiting sex. so a walk-through may be helpful. [edit]Other examples of sexual selection Sexual selection accounts for many traits in the animal kingdom which would be impossible via natural selection alone. after all. sexual selection has taken over and will continue to operate until the tails reach their physical limit (beyond which natural selection would again punish those birds with tails so long they cannot survive). The examples are followed by their category (female choice or mate competition). then natural selection would favor this. at some point. It is important to note that a sexually-selected trait must first arise via natural selection. but if the female's genes keep operating. If. These sorts of pressures allow for the large relative sizes of males and their competitive nature. Another form of sexual selection is called intrasexual selection or mate competition.or intrasexually. the most competitive [usually] male gets to mate with the local females.

Stephen Jay Gould . 1994  [edit]Footnotes Carl Jay Bajema Evolution by Sexual Selection Theory: Prior to 1900 John Wiley & Sons.Common descent: the incontrovertible evidence .Phylogen Signal detection theory .Microevolution . but mainly female choice)   [edit]See the bowers of bowerbirds (female choice) Penis size in humans (female choice)[2] also     Natural selection Social selection Evolution The Ant and the Peacock [edit]Further reading  Helena Cronin The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today Cambridge University Press.Darwinism . Andersson Sexual Selection Princeton University Press 1994.Natural selection .Macroevolution . 1991  Mary Margaret Bartley A Century of Debate: the History of Sexual Selection Theory (1871-1971) Cornell University.Evobabble . 1984 1.EvoWiki .Behe interview .Wedge Document - Categories:  Biology .De-evolution . pp.Fossil record . ↑ Wikipedia: Sexual selection in human evolution: Human sexual anatomy Evolution Articles on RationalWiki ance . 17-19 ISBN 978-0691000572 2.Disproving Intelligent Design .Evolution . ↑ M.Palaeos . Incorporated.   the neck of the giraffe (mate competition) large relative sizes of males (mate competition) the highly elaborate courtship rituals of animals (both.Human .Cladistics .Evolutionist .Dinosaur . B.Social Darwinism .Niche .Disproving Ev genics .Theory of Evolution .

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called allopatric species. hybrid inviability. Natural selection can be seen as differences in reproductive rates among the variants within a population.Natural Selection and the Origin of Species Natural selection operates on the variability that is inherent in all populations. Certain individuals within the population may possess preadapted variations that increase their . Yet gene flow is effectively prevented by one of several reproductive isolating mechanisms: ecological isolation. In kin selection. seasonal isolation. Sympatric species are closely related species that have come to reside in the same geographical area. but these new niches can never be identical to the original ones. Individuals or populations with higher survival or fertility rates are said to be better fitted to the environment in which they live. and disruptive selection. There are three types of natural selection: directional selection. sexual isolation. Populations within a species will tend to disperse into new regions where they occupy similar ecological niches. This elimination of gene flow between demes . and this brings about changes in the gene pool. One type of sexual selection is intersexual selection. Since the possessors of different genotypes produce differing numbers of offspring. stabilizing selection. In addition to natural selection.generated within and restricted to each deme ultimately make successful reproduction between the demes impossible. Macroevolution includes those processes responsible for the evolution of species and higher taxa. and the forces of evolution operate to bring about changes in gene frequencies within gene pools of demes. These accumulations and genefrequency changes . When demes or groups of demes become reproductively isolated. Intrasexual selection involves males competing with one another with the successful individuals contributing genes to the next generation. their contribution to the next generation differs. gametic mortality.which is usually the result of some type of geographical barrier .allows for the accumulation of different mutations within each deme. zygotic mortality. Over time. subspecies may develop. which selects for traits that make males more attractive to females. and hybrid sterility. mechanical isolation. The local reproductive population is the deme. there are two other types of selection: kin selection and sexual selection. these populations may become distinct species. an individual contributes to his or her reproductive success by acting in a manner that allows his or her kin to be reproductively successful.

To learn more about the book this website supports.and understand the mechanisms by which all three operate. and sexual selection. II. McGraw-Hill Higher Education is one of the many fine businesses of The McGraw-Hill Companies. habitat. please visit its Information Center. extinction may result. including important concepts such as reproductive population. extinction. kin selection. 2002 McGraw-Hill Higher Education Any use is subject to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Students should be able to describe the ways in which macroevolution may occur. and environment. IV. III. and generalized versus specialized traits and species. variability. Students should be able to distinguish between natural selection. . This rapid proliferation of species is an adaptive radiation. . including the roles of competition.adaptation in the new niche. However. and niche. Students should understand the differences between phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. or when a population evolves new anatomical or physiological adaptations. speciation maybe quite rapid. adaptive radiation. I. Students need to understand the process of natural selection. preadaptation. When a population enters an area in which it has no competition. if populations unable to compete in their original niche do not adapt to new or changing niches.

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