Biologists studying animals in the wild have occasionally come across a puzzling pattern. In certain instances, individuals in particular species appear to behave with a kind of altruism - sacrificing their own safety and security for the sake of others. But altruism, as typically understood, shouldn't really pop up in the animal kingdom. As a hardwired behavior, it provides no evolutionary benefit.
Scientists have come up with several different theories to explain animal altruism, most of which boil down to one idea: What we perceive as an altruistic act is really something else entirely. What is it? Jules Suzdaltsev selflessly offers up the answer in today's DNews report. Next week: Why do science journalists act with altrusim? What are they really up to?
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National Geographic: Why Humpback Whales Protect Other Animals From Killer Whales
Seeker: When Animals Help Each Other
Stanford University: Biological Altruism