Capturing the Courtship Rituals of Bizarre Birds-of-Paradise

By Breanna Draxler | December 12, 2012 10:10 am

Birds-of-paradise are living, breathing, dancing, singing examples of evolutionary extremes. Isolated in the rainforests of New Guinea, these species evolved in the absence of predators. As such, their designs have been driven by sexual selection—female preference, rather than physical necessity, per se—and the results are over the top.

Cornell University ornithologist Ed Scholes and National Geographic photojournalist Tim Laman have combed the rainforests of New Guinea and Australia for the past eight years in search of every one of the birds-of-paradise’s 39 species. The research duo has amassed some 40,000 images of these ornate birds performing their elaborate courtship rituals. The project’s official website is set to launch sometime in January, but they have released a trailer to tide viewers over until then. The only thing more astounding than the images of these avian anomalies is the evolutionary history that created them.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, Top Posts
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »