Thought Of The Day

This is another of jewels of David Attenborough. It is a fascinating documentary on the Papua New Guinea's Birds of Paradise. Here is an interesting trivia on these birds.

In this group of 39 species of exotic birds that make up the Birds of Paradise, all females across species look similar and are mostly brown and looking dull and plain. While the males are all showy and colorful and in males each species look distinct from the other species. The plumes and feathers and the colors of males are distinct and totally unlike the females. Why did evolution took the path that it took? Why had this specific bird family has taken there plumage and ornaments to such an extreme levels and insane levels?

The females of the Birds of Paradise group raise the newborn entirely by herself. Most other species of birds usually work in pair to raise the newborns or build a nest or find food for the offspring, but the females of this group does everything by her own. This reason by itself is why the males have so fancy plumage. The tropical forests of Papua New Guinea are rich in fruits and figs all year round, making it easier for the females to entirely raise the chick all by herself. Since the male have nothing else to do, they spend all the time perfecting there dance moves and producing fascinating plumes and displays. As females do not need males to help around, the partner selection process revolves around which male has the best plumes. Now with evolution, this particular liking becomes more and more amplified over thousands of generations until the plumage reaches to such extreme levels. Sexual selection ensures that males with the best plumage are highly preferred and that in turn leads to those qualities getting more pronounced going forward. Also the jungles of Papua New Guinea do not have natural predators, so the birds can afford to have complicated feathery contraptions as they do not need to be agile to fly away quickly from harm's way.

I wonder how humans will evolve to fill the new ecological niche that have opened up in last couple of thousand years of our lives. How will our bodies change with technology, with processed food, with no longer a nomadic and sedentary lifestyle, with so much knowledge. I wonder!

No comments:

Post a Comment