Till the bottom

Episode 14. The evolution of beauty: from humans to birds and back

April 13, 2019

In this episode we sit down to discuss the very origins of beauty. Are the rather maligned "standards of beauty" imposed upon us by cultural means? Do we absorb them by being constantly bombarded by publicity and movies? As we argue, beauty is a much deeper and universal concept with a long evolutionary history. Beauty transcends human whims, it pervades the animal kingdom. Aesthetics is not the exclusive dominion of our species, in birds, it has generated an explosion of physical exhuberance and fascinating behavior. We humans have not lagged behind in the business of shaping the body and the mind of the opposite sex. From Darwin to Zahavi, from humans to birds, to chimpanzees and back to humans, here we explore what are the mechanisms through which, as Richard O. Prum asserts, "beauty happens".Enjoy!

Erratum: It is Alfred Wallace, not Arthur Wallace... sorry!

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