Darwinism and Wallacism

Geoffrey E. Hill

in A Red Bird in a Brown Bag

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195148480
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893683 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ornithology Series

Darwinism and Wallacism

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This chapter reviews the history of the study of bird coloration, starting with the debates of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace in the 19th century. Although Darwin proposed the idea that ornamental coloration evolves under the pressure of female choice, this idea remained untested for plumage color until the 1990s, when research was conducted on mate choice experiments with House Finches. The chapter discusses why it took so long for the idea to be tested.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Alfred Wallace; mate choice; sexual selection; history of science; plumage color; ornamental coloration

Chapter.  4943 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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