E.6b Reciprocal Altruism

03/03/2014 § Leave a comment

Now, if the whole world could be reciprocally altruistic, then we’d have a lot less problems, wouldn’t we.


As its name suggests, reciprocal altruism is a type of altruism. (Wow.) Simply put, this type of behaviour, again, benefits mostly the recipient and comes at a cost to the donor. The difference between reciprocal altruism and kin selection is that the former happens between non-relative individuals. Like friends among human beings. Strange creatures, those humans.

The best example of reciprocal altruism can be seen in vampire bats, ofmgkfgk, they are so cute. Female vampire bats (I have no idea what happened to the male vampire bats but there were none in the videos) have to eat constantly due to their high metabolism and high surface area to volume ratio. If they don’t eat for more than 2½ days, then they’re going back in the coffin.

(ha ha)

So what happens is that each female vampire bat has a best friend (like you and me) who, if they weren’t able to forage anything for the night, will willingly regurgitate some of their own food so they can survive long enough to find food the next night. In response to this, if that friend needs help later, the original female vampire bat should also reciprocate and also give the friend food. Sometimes they don’t but those cheats are caught and banished faster than they can say “Dracula.”

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