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a201-11f-18-AltruismKinSelection - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Biological Anthropology: Notes 18 The evolution of cooperation: Altruism and kin selection Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - It was not difficult to understand how selection can affect mating and parenting behavior, and behaviors directly related those - because these behaviors obviously and directly affect reproductive success - but primates also interact with each other in many other ways that are not directly related to sex and offspring - grooming - alliances or coalitions in conflicts with others - warning or defending others from predators - adults insisting on inspecting others’ infants - adults caring for others’ infants, etc. - complex behaviors like these were presumably the starting point for the evolution of our own complex social behavior and intelligence - there are two (at least) ways that evolutionary theory can explain this sort of complex social behavior… - First, let's be more specific about what kind of behavior we mean - we can categorize social interactions between two individuals according to whether they produce a benefit or a cost for the reproductive success of each of the two individuals involved - we consider one individual to be the “actor”; the other is the “recipient” of the behavior - “selfish” behavior: benefits actor, costs recipient (or is neutral) - “mutualistic” behavior: benefits both actor and recipient (“win-win”) - “spiteful” behavior: costs both the actor and the recipient - “altruistic” behavior: costs the actor, but benefits the recipient - naturally, these terms are just shorthand - they don't necessarily imply any understanding or emotion on the part of the animals - as we saw before, it is very difficult to really measure reproductive success without a large, expensive, long-term project in which we count the number of surviving offspring over several years, at least - so primatologists usually substitute shorter-term costs or benefits like exposure to predators or increased access to food - assuming that these will generally have the expected positive or negative effects on reproductive success, which is what really matters - Not surprisingly, “selfish” behavior is common in competition for food, mates, etc. - “mutualistic” behavior also occurs - two individuals grooming each other at the same time - several individuals hunting together - a few lower-ranking males jointly attacking the dominant male in a group - Also not surprisingly, “spiteful” behavior is rare, since it reduces the reproductive success the actor
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Intro to Biological Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Altruism and kin selection p. 2 - what is surprising is that primates engage in a lot of “altruistic” behavior - one individual grooms another ( allogrooming , vs. self grooming, which is also called autogrooming ) - the actor spends time that it could be using to find food, mates, rest, etc.
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a201-11f-18-AltruismKinSelection - Introduction to...

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