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How they shine

Iridescence could be pretty meaningful—or maybe just pretty

11:29am, May 23, 2008

Believe it or not, science has barely begun to fathom the peacock’s tail. Subtle as a pink tuxedo, one might think. Big flashy thing. Peahens love it. What’s not to understand.

Roslyn Dakin, though, has plenty of questions. There’s the matter of choreography. Already this year she has left Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, to visit peacocks (the birds) in Los Angeles and New York. She has spent weeks collecting feathers and watching males fan out their finery before the ladies. “The males do all sorts of strange footwork,” she says.


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