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Behavioral Ecolog4 - recognize his or her degree of...

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Behavioral Ecology Kin Altruism Now that we have included indirect fitness in our definition of inclusive fitness, we can see that individuals can derive some benefit by helping to raise their siblings or other relatives: through these siblings and relatives the genes of the helping individual are passed on. This is really not "altruism" in the true sense of the word because the individual does indirectly benefit. When and who should an individual help? The answer lies in the relative costs and benefits of the aid. Danger or giving up your own chance to reproduce are costs (C) of altruism. The benefit (B) is the aided individual's reproductive success. Therefore, individuals should only act altruistically when the indirect benefit is greater than the cost, or mathematically, when B > C. Kin Recognition In order to act altruistically preferentially toward relatives, an individual must be able to
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Unformatted text preview: recognize his or her degree of relatedness to other individuals. This can be accomplished in several ways. Some animals recognize their kin by imprinting on their nestmates. Siblings reared together can recognize each other via vision or scent. Other animals imprint on the smell of their nesting material, and recognize kin nestmates in this fashion. Some animals recognize kin by molecular cues. For example, MHC Class II are gene loci which are highly polymorphic, meaning the probability is low that any two individuals will share the same set of MHCII loci. It is therefore a useful way to discern how closely two individuals are related. There is some evidence that mice shed MHC molecules or their byproducts in their urine, and that they use this clue to recognize kin....
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