XV.5.5 The direct benefit hypotheses and good genes hypotheses assume that females prefer traits whose presence indicates the quality of the male

Some hypotheses assume that preference for a certain type of sexual trait does not arise accidentally (as assumed by the models described above), but because it is objectively more advantageous for the female to reproduce preferentially with males that exhibit the presence of just these traits. These hypotheses can be roughly divided to two groups. The first group contains hypotheses assuming that the choice of a male with a well-developed relevant sexual trait brings the female a direct benefit (Williams 1966). More vital males can devote more energy to care for progeny, do not infest the offspring or the female with parasites and can probably transfer their vitality to the offspring through nongenetic means, for example through material resources. For example, the indicator of the state of health would tend to be included in this group (XV.5.5.4).  The second group consists in good gene hypotheses (Fisher 1958). They are based on the concept that the presence of certain traits can indicate the quality of the male genes and thus the quality of the future offspring. The hypothesis of the indicators of resistance to parasites can be given as an example of a good genes hypothesis (XV.5.5.8). However, in some cases, it is very difficult to draw a sharp line between the two types of hypotheses and to decide to which of the two types a certain hypothesis belongs, for example the hypothesis of the indicators of social success (XV.5.5.7), the winter habitat hypothesis (XV.5.5.6) andthe hypothesis of the indicators of the quality of ontogenesis (XV.5.5.3).s

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.