Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

The sight of the peacock’s tail makes me sick: The early arguments on sexual selection



Why does a peacock have a beautiful train, while a peahen is sober without such flamboyance? Darwin proposed the theory of sexual selection to explain the differences between the sexes of the same species. Recently the study of sexual selection has been one of the most flourishing areas in evolutionary biology. However, the theory met with great resistance from biologists since the publication of the idea and the history of the theory included a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. There are several reasons for this. First, classical Darwinism failed to recognize social competition as an important selective force. Second, the good-for-the-species argument, which persisted in the days after Darwin, made the sexual selection argument more difficult to understand. Compared to the discussions on animals, Darwin’s argument on human sex differences is not satisfactory. The reason probably lies in the debate over human racial differences which prevailed in the 19th century.


History of evolutionary theory natural selection origin of races sexual selection 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of JurisprudenceSenshu UniversityTokyoJapan

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