Just out last week, this short video is a gorgeous introduction to the Birds-of-Paradise Project.
For the past eight years Cornell Lab's Ed Scholes and National Geographic's Tim Laman collaborated to film all 39 species of the birds-of-paradise. Their goal was to probe the mystery of the birds' evolution and to bring attention to their conservation needs.
How did the birds and their dances become so exotic? It's as if they were selectively bred for the most elaborate dances and fancy plumes.
And they were.
Just like our experience of selectively breeding dogs into specialized traits and sizes (think Irish wolfhound and dachshund), the female birds-of-paradise have always selected the fanciest males with the best dances. And then they breed.
Watch the video of these amazing birds and check Cornell Lab's resource link for the upcoming book and broadcast.