A recent study from the Center for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter in the UK has found out that being a highly attractive species can increase the risk of its extinction.
The study further explains that the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species, which is called sexual dimorphism, can actually make an animal go extinct, instead of ensuring survival by making them more attractive mates.
The researchers concluded that there is up to 10 times more chance for species with greater sexual or physical differences to go extinct.
However, Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest explains that animals choose their partners based on its sex-specific viability.
Sexual dimorphism can bring about differences in color, shape, size, and structure in some animals and plants.
The best example of sexual dimorphism can be seen in peacocks. The males have elaborate tails with bright colors, while the females are dull and have shorter feathers. The bigger the tail of the male peacock, the more attractive it becomes to the peahen.
Other research has found that huge horns and bone frills in some dinosaurs were meant to make them more attractive to their mates, rather than being used in fights with other males.
The current study shows that developing pretty features might come at a huge cost to some species.
"The evolutionary costs of such traits help to enforce the honesty of the associated displays, but can also reduce the fitness of populations in general and thereby increase the risk of [the]population," the researchers of University wrote, according to Tech Times.
The research was published in the journal Nature this week.
The researchers studied fossils of 93 species of ostracods, which are also known as seed shrimps. These shrimps lived 84 million years ago. In the study, the team looked at their physical traits and the approximate time of extinction.
They concluded that male ostracods, also known as seed shrimp, evolved heavily in terms of their appearance to the point that they missed out on other survival factors.
Jonathan Payne, a geological sciences professor at Stanford University also pointed out that this theory might be only applicable to ostracods and not to human beings and other animals. Also, the researchers said that the ostracods' size and their ability to regulate body temperature were major hurdles for the study.