Birds-of-paradise are some of most stunning examples of evolution in the animal kingdom: They have stunning plumage and incredible intricate songs and dances, which all evolved to win mates. Now, thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic, all 39 species of bird-of-paradise in New Guinea’s mountainous rainforests have been captured on film in all of their glory.
I’ve discussed before how birds-of-paradise (and juggalos) are shaped by the incredibly complex evolutionary process. Their remarkable specificity–a neon green feather here, a long, complicated warble there–is a miracle, shaped over millennia as various sexual preferences were randomly exploited and propagated in isolation on the small Pacific islands the birds call home.
- by Derek Mead