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Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Rawhard Dickins

Can anyone explain then why altruism exists in unintelligent species?

Altruism is behind Kin and group selection so are these modes actually the same thing separated only by degree? We are all cousins!

Altruism undoubtedly helps the success of families and groups, and this effects which genes succeed, i.e. the genes from individuals that bestow a benefit within groups. Uncooperative freeloaders may begin to dominate a group but the group may fail en-mass, but cooperative groups may succeed if say, the cost of a squark when danger looms, or the danger of being noticed is negligible, i.e. lost in the noise of other factors, and less detrimental than beneficial. Freeloaders and altruists within a group would in this case have a level playing field, but success would occur differentially between groups of varying ratios, leading to a higher prevalence of altruism.

Altruism may also work when carried along with other factors that ensure its survival, symbiotic, or pleiotropic traits, one of which would be of benefit to offspring or cousins and the altruistic individual would benefit from reciprocity where the gene had become established in an environment that may not necessarily select against it.

If anyone can comment or add to this I would be grateful.

BTW on a different note. I think it's a little unkind in the way that academics have rallied against E.O. Wilson, I think a somewhat softer approach could have been given to this gentleman in his twilight years.

And one other thing that has come across on these pages (and this is in no way meant to blow my own rather small trumpet), is the immense detail that makes up the subject of evolution, the level and depth of knowledge of its every fold is quite staggering and should put any denier or god-of-the-gaps theorist to shame for their glaring ignorance.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 14:37:23 UTC | #937004