Three things thrill me when I stumble across them: theories on why the world is so varied and beautiful; how the females of all species exercise more agency than traditional culture understands; and that animals have far more cognition than we realize.
It turns out that Charles Dawin championed all three concepts, but his work on these specific topics has been undervalued for 140 years.
Yale ornithologist Richard O. Prum's 2018 book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Dawin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World, uses his extensive understanding of birds to set the record straight.
"Darwin hypothesized that mate choice had resulted in the evolution of many of those traits in nature that are so pleasingly beautiful… from the songs, colorful plumages, and displays of birds to the brilliant blue face and hind quarters of the mandrel," Plum writes.
Darwin understood that mate choice is mostly driven by the females of the species. Read More