PBS Documentary on Animal Reproduction: Why Sex?


The colorful feathers of peacocks have inspired a lot of art, science, and even frustration. Charles Darwin had a notorious hate for peacocks; their feathers made no sense to him. Nowadays we have more insight on this evolutionary issue.

“We may conclude that…those males which are best able by their various charms to please or excite the female, are under ordinary circumstances accepted. If this be admitted, there is not much difficulty in understanding how male birds have gradually acquired their ornamental characters. In all ordinary cases, the male is so eager that he will accept any female, and does not, as far as we can judge, prefer one to the other.” — Charles Darwin

The following video–of about one hour of duration–begins with a very poignant explanation of the advantages of peacock feathers: