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Mate ChoiceThe Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans$
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Gil G. Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150673

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150673.001.0001

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Conclusions: A Mate-Choice View of the World

Conclusions: A Mate-Choice View of the World

(p.482) Chapter 18 Conclusions: A Mate-Choice View of the World
Mate Choice

Gil G. Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter provides suggestions toward a synthetic theory of mate choice. It argues that mating decisions are a primary driver of individual fitness. The regularities that emerge around mate choice are of the sobering kind, where the Dionysian exuberance of preferences and ornamentation is checked by Apollonian concerns of fecundity and survivorship. Our intuition, however, tells us that desire is complicated and strange and unpredictable, and this intuition holds true broadly across sexually reproducing organisms. These properties of mate choice are built into the system, from the initial arbitrariness of how traits and preferences originate to the coevolutionary dynamics that drive them in unexpected directions. The seriousness of mate choice, then, is overlain with a mischievous streak that can generate gratuitous beauty and complexity.

Keywords:   mate choice, mating preference, sexual selection

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