A new review (and critique) of Richard Prum’s book on sexual selection

Why Evolution Is True

I’ve now read Richard O. Prum’s new book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us (I’d highlighted the work earlier in my critique of his NY Times article about the book). Click on the screenshot to go to the book’s Amazon site. (Prum is a professor of ornithology, ecology, and evolution at Yale.)

The review I want to highlight was published in the journal Animal Behaviour, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to give my own brief take on the book.

The Evolution of Beauty is in fact a mixed bag, but for me the problems outweigh the good parts. First, though, what’s good, and a bit of background.

Prum’s purpose is to explicate a theory of sexual selection that was suggested by geneticist Ronald Fisher eighty years ago and was elaborated much more recently…

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