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Richard Prum

Richard Prum – Mate Choice, Sexual Conflict, and Sexual Autonomy: Everything you ever wanted to know about duck sex, but were afraid to ask

Mate choice is well appreciated mechanism in the evolution of avian ornaments.  However, sexual coercion and sexual violence can also influence avian breeding systems, leading to sexual conflict. This talk will explore sexual conflict in waterfowl, bowerbirds, and lek evolution. The conclusion is that freedom of choice matters to birds. Sexual autonomy actively evolves in birds, and contributes substantially to the diversity of avian aesthetic ornaments and social systems.

Richard O. Prum is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology at Yale University, and the Curator of Ornithology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Prum is an evolutionary ornithologist with broad interests in avian biology. A life-long birdwatcher, Prum has researched many topics in bird biology including avian phylogeny, behavioral evolution, feather development and evolution, structural coloration, sexual selection, and the dinosaur origin of birds. He has conducted fieldwork on bird on all continents, and has studied fossil theropods in China. In 2017, he published The Evolution of Beauty, which was named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, and was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction. He has been awarded MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships.

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