The Selfish Reason Animals Risk Their Lives For Others

Wild animals risk their lives for one another all the time, but why? Scientists say they might not be as selfless as we think.

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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Read More:

National Geographic: Why Humpback Whales Protect Other Animals From Killer Whales

Seeker: When Animals Help Each Other

Stanford University: Biological Altruism