Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

  • -id > 9:3

Handicap Principle Or Theory

Proposal that the possession of an exceptional variant in a sexual dimorphic trait such as a large chromatic tail evolved only because exceptionally strong individuals could survive with such a handicap. Proposed in 1975 by A. Zahavi, it is a specific application of Darwin’s principle of sexual selection; in this instance, female choice of such a male would ensure that the trait appears in her offspring. The model has remained controversial, and several critiques have diminished its general application. Aka the good genes hypothesis.

Full-Text Search Entries