The evolution of mating preferences and the paradox of the lek

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Abstract

Why do females prefer elaborate male mating displays in species where they receive little more from males than their sperm? Here we review three hypotheses for the evolution of mating preferences: direct selection, the runaway process and the parasite mechanism. There is growing support for direct selection, in which preferences evolve because of their direct effects on female fitness rather than the genetic effects on offspring resulting from mate choice.

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Kirkpatrick, M., Ryan, M. The evolution of mating preferences and the paradox of the lek. Nature 350, 33–38 (1991) doi:10.1038/350033a0

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