# Zahavi principle of evolution...

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by aaqucnaona, Dec 9, 2011.

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## [Read OP first] Do u agree with the Zahavi priniciple?

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1. ### aaqucnaonaThis sentence is a lieValued Senior Member

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...of displays, gestures and ritual behaviour in animals. I quote Dawkins from Viruses of the mind:

"Zahavi suggests that peacocks, for instance, evolve their absurdly
burdensome fans with their ridiculously conspicuous (to predators) colors,
precisely because they are burdensome and dangerous, and therefore
impressive to females. The peacock is, in effect, saying: Look how fit and
strong I must be, since I can afford to carry around this preposterous tail.''
To avoid misunderstanding of the subjective language in which Zahavi
likes to make his points, I should add that the biologist's convention of
personifying the unconscious actions of natural selection is taken for
granted here. Grafen has translated the argument into an orthodox
Darwinian mathematical model, and it works. No claim is here being made
about the intentionality or awareness of peacocks and peahens. They can
be as sphexish or as intentional as you please.
Moreover, Zahavi's theory is general enough not to depend upon a
Darwinian underpinning. A flower advertising its nectar to a skeptical''
bee could benefit from the Zahavi principle. But so could a human
salesman seeking to impress a client.

The premise of Zahavi's idea is that natural selection will favor skepticism
among females (or among recipients of advertising messages generally).
The only way for a male (or any advertiser) to authenticate his boast of
strength (quality, or whatever is is) is to prove that it is true by shouldering
a truly costly handicap --- a handicap that only a genuinely strong (high
quality, etc.) male could bear. It may be called the principle of costly
authentication."

What do u personally think about this? And what is the scientific consenses on this hypothesis [is it confirmed enough to be a principle, if not what observations would be necessary]? What are the alternative hypothesis?

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3. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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I think it is a "preposterous tail" and would not give it much thought, Darwin had it right.

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5. ### AriochValued Senior Member

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Sexual selection works well for explaining the plumage of species like peacocks and birds of paradise.

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7. ### RhaedasValued Senior Member

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Natural selection is simply about spreading the genes. If the male gets his transferred and then dies because of the same mechanism, he still wins evolution. He doesn't have to live long to do this. If it works well enough for the general male population, that gene tends to get selected more and possibly enhanced.

It doesn't have to make sense from an individual's point of view.

8. ### tantalusRegistered Senior Member

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66
principle of costly authentication
First time I heard in given this title, I normally hear it referred to as the handicap hypothesis/principle. Nevertheless, it is accepted as a credible concept. Does it explain the peacock, well traditionally it has been the leader, but consider these links...

http://209.85.117.197/12418/66/0/p1028200/Peacockmain.pdf
and