In Salon number 9 we welcome Professor Richard Prum of Yale University to discuss the role of beauty in evolution.
Richard’s latest book, About The Evolution of Beauty, was named a best book of the year by the New York Times book review, Smithsonian and Wall Street Journal.
A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed “the taste for the beautiful”—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world. Prum introduces agency and perception as essential components for evolutionary processes and challenges the dogma that holds that natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves.
We ask Richard about his unpublished work on pollination and bees to understand the influences of beauty and way the selection process is shaped by the memory of things beautiful … or sometimes dangerous.