Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A population genetic model of sexual selection is constructed in which, at equilibrium, males signal their quality by developing costly ornaments, and females pay costs to use the ornaments in mate choice. It is shown that the form of the equilibrium is uninfluenced by the Fisher process, that is, by self-reinforcement of female preferences. This is a working model of the handicap principle applied to sexual selection, and places Zahavi's handicap principle on the same logical footing as the Fisher process, in that each can support sexual selection without the presence of the other. A way of measuring the relative importance of the two processes is suggested that can be applied to both theories and facts. A style of modelling that allows simple genetics and complicated biology to be combined is recommended.


Journal article


J Theor Biol

Publication Date





473 - 516


Animal Communication, Animals, Female, Game Theory, Male, Mathematics, Models, Genetic, Sexual Behavior, Animal