E.6c Kin Selection

01/03/2014 § Leave a comment

If you wanted to be in the hall of fame, why can’t you just say so?



Well, okay, let’s see. What is kin selection. Kin selection is a type of altruistic behaviour found in few species, not including humans. Humans are very into kin selection, if you don’t mind my informality. The downside of kin selection is that you don’t get to pass on as many of your genes into the next generation, but by choosing to support at least members of the species that you share genes with, at least some of your genes (the ones shared by that kin) will be passed on to the next generation. Altruistic behaviour is (sort of silly) disadvantageous to the performer because it’s costly to them but benefits the recipient. “Survivor of the fittest” plays little to no role in altruism and kin selection.

One example of kin selection can be found in the silver-backed jackal (but on the projector they look yellow). Instead of leaving to start its own pack (family), a young male (or female? Actually I’m not sure) would stay to help its parents with their family and increase their chances of survival. The yearling won’t be able to see as much of its genes in the next generation as it would if it started its own family but at the same time, there’s no guarantee that an inexperienced yearling would even be able to start its own family. (Costs and benefits, yo.) Clearly altruism has more disadvantages to the donor than advantages, so it’s silly right? Right.

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