DURHAM -- Recent research reveals female beauty may have less to do with attracting a mate than previously thought, at least in the animal kingdom.

Duke University research shows that though males in the animal kingdom are often the “showy sex” with more striking, flamboyant features that attract the favor of females (such as a peacock's feathers), females that do have striking features are often overlooked.

The study says that the attraction of “good-looking” males in the animal kingdom has been studied for quite some time, whereas the effect of attractive females is less clear.

Though science has assumed that attractive females would use their good looks simply to “marry up,” Courtney Fitzgerald, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, says that is not necessarily the case.

She worked with UNC-Chapel Hill's Maria Servedio to develop a mathematical model to test whether or not attractive females use their beauty to “marry up” to higher-quality mates.

Their results suggest that female beauty doesn’t evolve just to win potential mates. Beautiful features in females are used for other purposes in the animal kingdom, such as social status and protection from enemies.

To see more, visit Duke Today.