Good-looking birds: Sexual attractiveness in the wild turkey

August 15, 2013

Why are some individuals more attractive to the opposite sex than others? New research by a team from University College London and Oxford University, published in PLOS Genetics, has shown that in wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), the essence of male beauty is mainly dependent on the way that males use their genes, rather than differences in the genes themselves.

Males and females in many animals show profound differences in how they look and act, and some of these differences are key to sexual attractiveness. Within each sex, individuals often show a range of these sex differences, with both males and females being more or less masculine or feminine. This variation in sex differences is puzzling, as it seems evolutionarily logical that every individual would want to be as attractive as possible to the opposite sex, in order to maximise their chances of producing offspring.

Male wild turkeys come in two morphs: dominant males show an exaggeration of male traits, such as: head colouration and snood length, which attract females, while subordinate males are less ornate. Subordinate and dominant brothers work together during the breeding season to attract females, but subordinate males never actually mate and father offspring themselves. Instead, they are the perfect and perennial wingmen, helping to pull in females for their dominant brother to mate with and potentially furthering their own genes indirectly through their sibling.

Dominant and subordinate males showed profound and wide-spread differences in the way they express the majority of genes in their genome. Dominant males were both masculinized (showed higher expression of genes predominantly found in males) and defeminized (showed lower expression for genes predominantly found in females). Thus, attractiveness in male turkeys is more a function of how they use their genes, rather than differences in the genes themselves.
-end-


PLOS

Related Attractiveness Articles from Brightsurf:

Is being generous the next beauty trend?
Research from Indiana University found that more attractive people are more likely to be givers, and givers are rated as more attractive.

Unattainable standards of beauty for today's woman
While the average American woman's waist circumference and dress size has increased over the past 20 years, Victoria's Secret fashion models have become more slender, with a decrease in bust, waist, hips and dress size, though their waist to hip ratio (WHR) has remained constant.

Study finds companies may be wise to share cybersecurity efforts
Research finds that when one company experiences a cybersecurity breach, other companies in the same field also become less attractive to investors.

Kindness is a top priority in a long-term partner according to a new international study
One of the top qualities that we look for in a long-term partner is kindness, according to new research by Swansea University.

What do the red 'ornaments' of female macaques mean?
Scientists demonstrated that, contrary to what had been assumed for several years, colour variations among female macaques do not precisely indicate the time of ovulation.

Backed in black: How to get people to buy more produce
Researchers may have figured out the secret to get people to buy more fresh produce: dress veggies up in black.

Facial plastic surgery in men enhances perception of attractiveness, trustworthiness
In the first of a kind study, plastic surgeons at Georgetown University found that when a man chose to have facial plastic surgery, it significantly increased perceptions of attractiveness, likeability, social skills, or trustworthiness.

Is facial cosmetic surgery associated with perception changes for attractiveness, masculinity, personality traits in men?
Photographs of 24 men before and after facial cosmetic surgery were part of this survey study to examine whether surgery was associated with perceived changes in attractiveness, masculinity and a variety of personality traits.

Commentary asks: What constitutes beauty and how is it perceived?
Beauty has many facets. Research shows there are many biological, psychological, cultural and social aspects that influence how beauty and attractiveness are perceived.

Gender bias sways how we perceive competence in faces
Faces that are seen as competent are also perceived as more masculine, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Read More: Attractiveness News and Attractiveness Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.