Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why peacocks have eyespots on their feathers

"BIRD PARK 8 0189" by Myloismylife - LOKE SENG HON - Own work by uploader - LOKE SENG HON. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BIRD_PARK_8_0189.jpg#mediaviewer/File:BIRD_PARK_8_0189.jpg"BIRD PARK 8 0189" by Loke Seng Hon (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Charles Darwin ventured that the magnificent trains on male peacocks, which feature ornamental eyespots called ocelli, evolved because of sexual selection. He speculated that there was a single origin, which sexual selection then enhanced. A new genetic study of peacocks and closely related pheasants found that this trait appears in some birds but not others, which suggests that it independently evolved repeatedly.

Article: Keping Sun, Kelly A. Meiklejohn, Brant C. Faircloth, Travis C. Glenn, Edward L. Braun, and Rebecca T. Kimball: The evolution of peafowl and other taxa with ocelli (eyespots): a phylogenomic approach. Proc. R. Soc. B September 7, 2014 281 1790 20140823; doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0823 1471-2954