Why peacocks have 'eyes' on their feathers

Charles Darwin ventured that the magnificent trains on male peacocks, which feature ornamental eyespots called ocelli, evolved because of sexual selection. He speculated that there was a single origin, which sexual selection then enhanced. A new genetic study of peacocks and closely related pheasants found that this trait appears in some birds but not others, which suggests that it independently evolved repeatedly. The researchers, who report their findings online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, conclude that females may have an innate bias for the eyelike structures.

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