Mate choice  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Mate choice, or intersexual selection, is an evolutionary process in which selection of a mate depends on attractiveness of its traits. It is one of two components of sexual selection (the other is male-male competition or intrasexual selection). Darwin first introduced his ideas on sexual selection in 1871 but advances in genetic and molecular techniques have led to major progress in this field recently.

Five mechanisms that explain the evolution of mate choice are currently recognized. They are direct phenotypic benefits, sensory bias, Fisherian runaway, indicator traits, and genetic compatibility. These mechanisms can co-occur and there are many examples of each.

In systems where mate choice exists, one sex is competitive with same-sex members and the other sex is choosy (selective when it comes to picking individuals to mate with). In most species, females are the choosy sex that discriminate amongst competitive males but there are several examples of reversed roles (see below).


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mate choice" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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