What the Peacock teaches

Have you ever looked at a peacock and compared him to the rather drab peahen he tries so hard to impress? In almost all birds we find the same thing- the male is both more brightly coloured and more vocal than the female.
Why should this be? Both sexes are programmed by nature to pass their genes in to the next generation.Surely this would motivate both peacocks and peahens equally?
Actually, no. It would not.
Peacocks and Peahens mate under sort of matriarchal system. The male contributes little to the next generation except exciting sex. The chicks are supported by their mother.
This means that mating is a cost free activity for the male. It is interesting that human beings do not use the same reproductive strategy. In fact it is usually the female who has the more elaborate mating strategy- which is hugely unusual and the opposite to all other primates other primates.
One reason may be that human beings pair bond- often for life. It is therefore worthwhile for the female to attract the right kind of mate.


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