Inclusive FitnessAnother concept related to reproductive success is inclusive fitness, described by W. D. Hamilton in the 1960s. Inclusive fitnessis the reproductive fitness of an individual organism plus any effect the organism has on increasing reproductive fitness in related organisms. Some researchers believe that the concept of inclusive fitness explains why certain organisms sacrifice themselves to save others in the species. According to this theory, people might risk their lives to save their children or close relatives, but not to save distant relatives or unrelated people. Because people share more genes with close relatives, saving them has more payoff in terms of passing on genes to the next generation. Adaptations An adaptationis an inherited characteristic that becomes prevalent in a population because it provides a survival or reproductive advantage. Because evolution occurs over a long period, an adaptation can remain in a population even after it has stopped being useful.
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