In the article ?Selections from The Ape and the Sushi Master? Frans de Waal describes what altruism is and how the concept works. Altruism is defined as instinctive, cooperative behavior that is harmful to the individual but contributes to the survival of the species. Altruism has many subtopics which include kin selection and reciprocal altruism. The concept is seen throughout nature at any time.
Altruistic behavior is common throughout the animal kingdom. An example described by de Waal was between a dog and tigers. The mother dog had raised and cared for the tiger cubs. They all became a family and lived peacefully with each other. In nature usually the tigers would attack the dogs, but since the dogs showed altruism towards the tigers, they became a family.
Darwin describes ?survival of the fittest? and natural selection which are opposites of altruism. Natural selection leads us to expect animals to behave in ways that increase their own chances of survival and reproduction, not those of others. But by behaving altruistically an animal reduces its own adaptation. The animal is to be at a selective disadvantage compared to one which behaves selfishly. De Waal gives the example ?when a
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