Revisiting West and King 1988

In a paper published in Nature in 1988, Meredith West and Andrew King demonstrated  that that a wing stroke visual display by female cowbirds, which don't sing, plays a role in song learning of male cowbirds. The findings of the study provided evidence for the role of visual stimulation in song development, a process that … Continue reading Revisiting West and King 1988

Revisiting Gillespie 2004

In a paper published in Science in 2004, Rosemary Gillespie demonstrated that both dispersal and in situ speciation contribute to accumulation of species numbers of Tetragnathid spiders on Hawaiian islands. Moreover, accumulation, whether through dispersal or speciation, happens in a way that no island contains more than one species of a particular ecomorph, i.e. in … Continue reading Revisiting Gillespie 2004

Revisiting Komdeur et al. 1997

In a paper published in Nature in 1997, Jan Komdeur, Serge Daan, Joost Tinbergen and Christa Mateman showed, through a combination of observation, experiment and genetic analysis, that, in the endemic and endangered Seychelles warbler, parents can manipulate sex ratio adaptively to improve their future reproductive success. Nineteen years after the paper was published, I … Continue reading Revisiting Komdeur et al. 1997

Revisiting Heinrich 1976

In a paper published in Ecological Monographs in 1976, Bernd Heinrich demonstrated, through careful observation and experiment on marked individuals, how bumblebees develop specialization in their foraging at the individual level, and examined the costs and benefits of of specialization through comparisons with other bee species. Forty years after the paper was published, I spoke … Continue reading Revisiting Heinrich 1976

Revisiting Hamilton and Zuk 1982

In a paper published in Science in 1982, William Hamilton and Marlene Zuk showed positive associations between the level of chronic blood infections and  display characteristics across North American Passerines. Based on these results they proposed a "good genes" model of sexual selection (Hamilton-Zuk Hypothesis): display characteristics used in mate selection are indicators of parasite … Continue reading Revisiting Hamilton and Zuk 1982

Revisiting Brosnan and de Waal 2003

In a paper published in Nature in 2003, Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal provided what was, arguably, the first evidence for inequity avoidance in a non-human animal. Brosnan and de Waal found that brown capuchin monkeys, refused to participate in trials if they observed conspecifics receiving a more attractive award for performing the same … Continue reading Revisiting Brosnan and de Waal 2003

Revisiting West-Eberhard 1975

In a paper published in The Quarterly Review of Biology in 1975, Mary Jane West-Eberhard reviewed the literature on kin selection and  outlined "social, ecological and developmental factors" that might influence the evolution of beneficial social interactions. West-Eberhard was motivated to write this paper because she felt that there was too much emphasis on the … Continue reading Revisiting West-Eberhard 1975