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runaway processrunaway-Prozess (ger.)

  • A selective process that may lead to an extreme manifestation of a trait in the members of one sex that was preferred by the members of the other sex for initially arbitrary reasons (e.g. the peacock’s tail).  

    There is […] in any binomic situation, in which sexual selection is capable of conferring a great reproductive advantage, the potentiality of a runaway process, which, however small the beginnings from which it arose, must, unless checked, produce great effects, and in the later stages with great rapidity.

    Fisher, R.A. (1930). The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection: 137.