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sexual selection


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Selection driven by the competition for mates, considered an adjunct to natural selection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of natural selection, where members of the sexes acquire distinct forms either because the members of one sex choose mates with particular features or because in the competition for mates among the members of one sex only those with certain traits succeed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. the selective preference of one sex for certain characteristics in the other, such as bright colors, musical notes, etc.; also, the selection which results from certain individuals of one sex having more opportunities of pairing with the other sex, on account of greater activity, strength, courage, etc.; applied likewise to that kind of evolution which results from such sexual preferences.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The reason of my being so much interested just at present about sexual selection is that I have almost resolved to publish a little essay on the Origin of Mankind, and I still strongly think (though I failed to convince you, and this to me is the heaviest blow possible) that sexual selection has been the main agent in forming the races of man.

    Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences

  • ‘Natural and sexual selection on color patterns in poeciliid fishes’, Environmental Biology of Fishes, 9, 173–90.


  • By the way, I doubt whether the term voluntary in relation to sexual selection ought to be employed: when a man is fascinated by a pretty girl it can hardly be called voluntary, and I suppose that female animals are charmed or excited in nearly the same manner by the gaudy males.

    Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences

  • No doubt a slight blush adds to the beauty of a maiden's face; and the Circassian women who are capable of blushing, invariably fetch a higher price in the seraolio of the Sultan than less susceptible women. 32 But the firmest believer in the efficacy of sexual selection will hardly suppose that blushing was acquired as a sexual ornament.

    The expression of the emotions in man and animals

  • The ones that had been freed to follow female-driven sexual selection rather than predator-driven selection for individual survival had not only become more brightly coloured: in all the other respects I have just listed, these fish had evolved the full cluster of other changes, to match those normally found in wild populations free from predators.



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