To continue the series of bizarre bird dances demonstrating the ways that sexual selection can mold behavior, I present a short film of the red-capped mankin “moonwalk”, taken in Costa Rica. The species is Pipra mentalis, whose males shuffle down branches while courting. Stiles & Skutch (1989) in A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, describe this behaviour of the male as “backwards slides with legs stretched up and yellow thighs exposed.” There are other unique aspects to the courtship behavior as well, including swooping and wing-slapping.
Red-capped manakin moonwalk
February 20, 2009 • 1:27 pm
7 thoughts on “Red-capped manakin moonwalk”
Hi again, Professor Coyne. I just finished reading your book, “Why Evolution is True” – and have posted a review of it in my blog at:
keep up the good work, you’re well placed in my RSS-reader!
I sent this link to many friends and family members. It is hilarious.
I also recently read WEIT and I rated it very highly but not perfect for the same reasons as freidenker85 above in his review.
With the risk of sounding a bit lame, do you mean you sent the link to this post, or to my review on WEIT?
hehe, the link to the bird post, fredenker85. You review is well written. My 2 paragraphs are independent of each other.
To Freidenker85: Thanks for the nice review; much appreciated. Two responses: yes, I did use familiar examples, mainly because the book was aimed at people who were unfamiliar with evolution, not at evolutionists or people who have followed Gould and Dawkins. The list of links at the end will get you deeper into the literature–read Don Prothero’s book on the fossil record, which is terrific. As for the inadequacy of special creation, well, yes, special creationism can explain everything, but perhaps not in a way that creationists would like. Many of them would not, for example, like to posit a “joker God” who created everything to LOOK as though it evolved, or an “incompetent God” who botched many thinks, like the evolution of the prostate gland!
Anyway, many thanks.
Much obliged, I’m honored! Well, I couldn’t help but thinking to myself while reading the book that as a creationist, I’d mutter to myself that you’re all wrong about “special creation not being compatible” – because “Joker God” IS a logical possibility in special creation.
I think this point was missing in the book,. that special creation IS compatible with a joker God, and I think that that it does makes things a LOT WORSE for creationists. I’d rather have my God not be involved in the origin of species rather than him being involved in an incredibly botched up origin of species.
In short- being responsible for something stupid is worse than not being responsible – and that’d make creationists not only scratch their heads wondering how to fit God into biology, but it’d make them positively scorn a creationist explanation.