Charles Darwin and Selection in Relation to Sex in the Colors of Monkeys

Sandra Winters, Megan Petersdorf, James P. Higham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter explores how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection has structured research on primate coloration. Darwin was fascinated by the conspicuous colors displayed by many animals and pointed to primates as a particularly colorful and interesting group. The chapter provides an overview of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection, highlighting how different selective mechanisms can lead to the extravagant colors found in many primate species. The chapter then overviews both modern and historical studies of primate coloration, emphasizing how methodological advances and a resurgence of interest in sexual selection has led to a modern revival of Darwin’s ideas regarding primate coloration. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of future questions and possible directions of this research. Darwin’s collected works clearly show that he was captivated by the bright colors displayed by many primates, and his theory of sexual selection remains the key to understanding the evolution of many of these impressive traits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDarwin's Roadmap to the Curriculum
Subtitle of host publicationEvolutionary Studies in Higher Education
EditorsDavid Sloan Wilson, Glenn Geher, Hadassah Mativetsky, Andrew C. Gallup
PublisherOxford University Press, New York
ISBN (Print)9780190624965, 9780190051679
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Charles Darwin and Selection in Relation to Sex in the Colors of Monkeys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this