All three of them tangled in a circle, their antlers interlocked with one another, all underneath the water. Mind, body, mission geared to fight to the death, in order to procreate with a female.
Here we have three bucks, who are carrying out their inherent characteristics, to compete within a dominance hierarchy. A classic case of intrasexual selection, within a male group in any complex animals. Whoever fights it out, and comes out the winner will be at the top of the social hierarchy, thus the female will choose the top male. Nature is testing out the ‘survival of the fittest’ theory, who is the strongest, yet cunning to be the victor and successfully pass on their genes.
However, there are instances when nature does not get things right, especially in this case, when all the male bucks have died fighting each other. As females have ‘outsourced’ their selection process to males, they do not have to face the brunt of danger. Herein, lies the problem with ‘selection’ in of itself, as there has been in many cases with all kinds of complex animals, including humans where this leads to genetic traits that have no benefits whatsoever in nature. For example males having large antlers, females like them, but males faced extreme burden which ultimately caused the species to be extinct.
Sexual arms race continues within organisms, this ultimately lead to our own species that can change the very fabric of nature itself, maybe nature had intended this. The invisible hand of nature will do things that are beyond our comprehension, but looking at the picture reminds us of the bare tooth and claw of nature.