Evolutionary Evidence of Altruism? The concepts of altruism and kin selection are two theories of animal behaviour that directly effect fitness. Every animal’s lifetime goal is to maximize its fitness, or reproductive success. This is achieved through the passing on of the individual’s genes through maximal production of offspring. Altruism is a behaviour that “decreases the fitness of an individual that is assisting or cooperating with a recipient whose fitness in increased.” Therefore; altruistic animals reduce the number of offspring they produce individually, but assist other animals in producing and raising their young. Although this behaviour is detrimental to the individual, the species benefit from these individuals and the survival of the species is ensured. Kin selection, however, employs Darwin’s theory of natural selection for a behavioural trait of an individual that “enhances the success of closely related individuals, thereby increasing the first individual’s
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