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  • They go from expected to extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

  • You're awestricken.

  • They transform themselves into something that you've never seen before.

  • They swagger and serenade, they dance and display.

  • They're unlike any creatures on earth and one of the most astounding phenomena ever witnessed.

  • The Birds-of-Paradise.

  • Found here in the nearly impenetrable mountains and valleys of the island of New Guinea, in the greatest remaining tract of rain forest in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

  • They exist nowhere else on earth.

  • The vast, vast majority of the land around here has no road access.

  • You're just looking up into a wall of steep slope, and you can tell that this is just ridge after ridge and valley after valley.

  • Evolutionary biologist Ed Scholes and wildlife photographer Tim Laman have spent the better part of a decade trekking into this isolated wilderness in pursuit of all thirty-nine species of these miraculous birds.

  • Well, the only way to see the king bird-of-paradise is to climb up into the trees where they live, so I'm headed up to my platform.

  • They've been photographing, analyzing, and recording their every move, every behavior, in an attempt to comprehend their secrets.

  • And in doing so, revealing extreme examples of the miracle of evolution.

  • The birds-of-paradise represent one of these singular events in evolution that stand out that are extraordinary.

  • They're something that's without precedent, something that evolved that's so unique and so exceptional that you're driven to say why, or, how did that happen, how did that come to be?

  • The birds-of-paradise are remarkable not only for their exceptional beauty, and almost otherworldly appearance.

  • But as veritable living textbooks and adaptation and sexual selection.

  • The females are looking at this whole package and can discern something about him by minor variation.

  • The more complex it is, the harder it is to make it look right.

  • You know, if one little feature is out of whack, you're gonna be able to tell.

  • What about New Guinea has led to these birds evolving here and nowhere else?

  • What function do their outrageous plumes and ornaments play?

  • And what exactly are they doing?

  • For me, it still always goes back to the original driving question, you know, and that's how did it happen?

  • How did the birds-of-paradise come to be?

  • Witness diverse strategies of evolution at work and experience one of nature's most extraordinary hidden wonders up close.

  • A world where beauty and behavior are intertwined.

  • A spectacle not possible any other place on Earth.

They go from expected to extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

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B1 paradise evolution extraordinary ridge guinea exceptional

Birds-of-Paradise Project Introduction

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    fisher posted on 2019/12/08
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