Scientists recently deduced that the reason peacocks have such elaborate tails is because peahens have an incredibly short attention span, and that’s what it takes to get and keep their focus.
Scientists figured out a while ago that peacocks grow their fabulous tail feather fans as part of the mating process, but what has eluded them is what exactly the peahens find attractive about it.
Well, now a group of researchers say they know – it’s because peahens have an unbelievably short attention span, and it takes a spectacle of that scale to get them interested.
The biologists filmed the eye movements of the peahens as they watched the tail displays of the males and were surprised by what they discovered.
Specifically, the team noticed that their gazes scanned the width of the tail fans – probably to assess age - and while doing so were mostly focused on the portions nearest the body.
Given the tails evolved to attract mates and the females seem to focus on the bottom portion primarily, the researchers suggest that feathers height serves only to attract them from a distance above dense vegetation.
They also deduced that the inability of the peahens to focus was likely to ensure that the entire landscape was scanned for potential partners and predators.