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New model illuminates why some greater sage grouse males 'strut' better than others


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When it comes to mating displays, a little persistence can go a long way, at least for the greater sage grouse. In "Hidden Markov Models Reveal Tactical Adjustment of Temporally Clustered Courtship Displays in Response to the Behaviors of a Robotic Female," published in The American Naturalist, Anna C. Perry and her colleagues at the University of California in Davis (USA), the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig (Germany) and the University of Florida (USA) use a custom-built statistical model to understand an under-explored dimension of greater sage grouse mating display behavior. The authors report that males that show greater display persistence, even in the face of seemingly uninterested females, have a competitive advantage over their peers.

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