handicap principle: antlers
Definition A hypothesis–by A Zahavi–Tel Aviv U–that the extravagance of an animal’s mating displays proves individual strength, because animals with handicaps don’t have the strength for heavy antlers or any other mating “pyrotechnics”
Examples Huge antlers for a stag; a Bugatti for a human.
handicap principle: Bugatti
The cost or handicap is a virtual guarantee of the honesty of the display; if there were no cost to the display–e.g., proof of the stag’s superiority by fighting other males, there would be rampant cheating, and observers–other stags–would learn to ignore the “false advertising.” Because antlers are costly, it would not be worthwhile for a weaker stag to produce large antlers and try to bluff his way into maintaining a harem.