handicap principle


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handicap principle

A hypothesis that the extravagance of an animal’s mating displays proves individual strength, because animals with handicaps do not have the strength for mating dominance.

Example
Huge antlers for deer stags.

The cost or handicap is a virtual guarantee of the honesty of the display; if there were no cost to the display—e.g., proof of the stag’s superiority by fighting other males—there would be rampant cheating, and observers (other stags) would learn to ignore the “false” displays. Because antlers are costly, it would not be worthwhile for a weaker stag to produce large antlers and try to “bluff” his way into mating superiority.
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The team's simulations, based on biological models of dishonesty and the handicap principle, show that deception is the best strategy when the addition of deceitful agents pushes the size of the group to the minimum level required to frustrate the predator enough for it to flee.
One promising approach would be to integrate a paleobiological approach to diet with the handicap principle and life-history theory of evolutionary psychology.
Zahavi (1975) proposed a hypothesis, termed the handicap principle, to explain this apparent female preference for disadvantaged males [26].
case of Zahavi's handicap principle operating in plants (Archetti,
Organisms that operate under the handicap principle send honest
The Zahavis' handicap principle also has to do with fitness displays, and they make a number of references to athletes in their important book.
The martial arts provide an interesting example of the handicap principle.
Zahavi proposes that his handicap principle explains all signals in nature.
In the space of two decades the handicap principle has gone from dismissed, laughable nonsense to being the central explanation underlying all forms of animal communication.
The handicap principle was first put forward by Amotz Zahavi (1975).
We therefore now develop a model which combines these facts about warning coloration, but which still retains a role for the handicap principle.
Although this already suggests that the handicap principle cannot entirely account for warning colors (since the model needs additions in the form of learned associations to give a complete explanation) the question of how far the design of such signals has been moulded by a handicap function is still left open.