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The Healthiest Beetles Grow the Biggest Horns

Exaggerated physical features such as beetle horns, deer antlers, and long tails in birds are all indications of a male’s breeding status within his society. Until recently, however, how these sexually selected traits have evolved has remained a mystery. In this video, researcher Douglas Emlen describes his work investigating the evolutionary processes at work in the amply-horned Japanese rhinoceros beetle—and reports that the difference between a big horn and a small horn may come down to nutrition and fitness.

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