Altruistic behaviors are a central component of many social systems. Any judgment on the extent of altruism in the natural world, however, will always depend upon definition. A requirement for conscious intention restricts altruism to creatures with sophisticated cognition, such as humans. However, the fitness-based definition of behavioral ecology reveals a wealth of additional examples, which typically arise through a combination of mechanisms. Centrally though, actions that decrease lifetime reproduction can readily evolve when there are indirect benefits that increase overall inclusive fitness. This is nowhere more obvious than in the social insects, where workers spend their entire life building, guarding, and foraging to raise a myriad of their relatives' offspring.
See also: Cooperation; Kin Selection.
Was this article helpful?
Learning About 10 Ways Fight Off Cancer Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life The Best Tips On How To Keep This Killer At Bay Discovering that you or a loved one has cancer can be utterly terrifying. All the same, once you comprehend the causes of cancer and learn how to reverse those causes, you or your loved one may have more than a fighting chance of beating out cancer.