This is the remarkable story of how scientists have taken up where Darwin left off, transforming our understanding of sexual selection and shedding new light on animal and human behavior. Drawing on cutting-edge science, Ryan explores key questions: Why do animals perceive certain traits as beautiful and others not? Do animals have an inherent sexual aesthetic and, if so, where is it rooted? Ryan argues that the answers lie in the brain—particularly of females, who act as biological puppeteers, spurring the development of beautiful traits in males.
Michael Ryan is the Clark Hubbs Regents Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of “A Taste for the Beautiful,” published in 2018 by the University of Chicago Press. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on animal behavior and mate choice.