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This is Scientific American 60-second Science. I'm Jason Goldman.
One of the most impressive scenes in the world of birds
is a peacock displaying its impressive, iridescent feathers, technically known as its train.
While the female peahen looks on, the peacock spreads his train out and ruffles it back and forth
as the sun highlights the red, blue, and green within the feathers.
But these iconic trains are only half of the story of how the boys impress the ladies.
Both male and female peafowl sport crests on their heads, small feathers that stick straight up, like a Mohawk.
"The crest feathers that actually give the peacocks' their Latin name, they're called Pavo cristatus, the crested pheasant.
And so I was intrigued by the fact that people didn't really know what the function of these crests were."
Haverford College physicist Suzanne Kane.
A biologist might see those feathers and assume they are visual signals, but as a physicist, Kane had a different idea.
"We were curious in my laboratory about whether the preferred vibrational properties of the crest feathers might,
by any chance, agree with the preferred vibrational properties of this train-rattling display that the males do."
So the Kane and her colleagues exposed crest feathers from preserved, dead peafowls to simulated displays of male and female social behaviors,
这里是科学美国人――60秒科学。我是杰森・古德曼。
鸟类世界最令人印象深刻的场景之一,
就是孔雀展示它那引人注目的彩虹色羽毛,术语称之为尾屏。
当雌孔雀在一旁观看时,雄孔雀便会展开尾屏并令其来回舞动,
太阳会令其羽毛内的红蓝绿三色更加闪亮。
但标志性尾屏只是雄孔雀打动雌孔雀的一半原因。
雄孔雀和雌孔雀都会炫耀头上的羽冠,即直立的小羽毛,就像莫霍克发型一样。
“孔雀的拉丁语名字Pavo cristatus就因其羽冠而得名,意为有羽冠的野鸡。
人们并不知道这些羽冠的功能,这一点引起了我的兴趣。”
哈弗福德学院的物理学家苏珊・凯恩说到。
生物学家可能会注意到这些羽毛并假设其为视觉信号,但作为一名物理学家,凯恩有不同看法。
“在我的实验室里,我们好奇的是:冠毛偏爱的振动特性
是否有可能与雄孔雀‘沙沙’开屏时偏爱的振动特性相一致。”
因此,凯恩及其同事将保存下来的死亡孔雀的冠毛,暴露在雄孔雀和雌孔雀社交行为的模拟展示中,
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