Altruismens oprindelse

Katrine Douglas Galsgaard, Kira Riber Mygind, Malene Billeskov Keller, Oliver Alexander Nyberg & Rasmus Grundtvig Taxbøl

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Darwin used the expression Survival of the Fittest, but after more than one and a half century, the question still remains: “The fittest what?” Does the adaptation happen on gene-, individual-, family-, population-, or community-level? The debate about how natural altruism is said to evolve, is basically a dramatized version of the classic debate about at what level, or at which levels evolution occurs. We analyze and discuss how classical Darwinian evolution can be reconciled with the evolution of biological altruism. Today, there is a general agreement that none of the existing theories are capable of explaining all cases of the development of altruistic behavior on their own. We conclude that that reciprocal altruism isn’t the main explanation for altruistic behavior, since it requires some form of cognitive capacity to be evolutionary stable. Furthermore we can conclude that kin selection and group selection are process that under certain circumstances can work as explanation for the development of altruistic behavior in some cases. It has been proved that the two theories are mathematically equivalent. We believe that this fact has played a crucial role in which theory is the best at explaining altruistic behavior. This means that the debate is no longer eligible. We believe however that from a biological point of view it makes sense to preserve both theories because they each give different insights and predictions. The newest theory called multi-level selection, doesn’t contribute, in our opinion, with any new clarification, because it’s a mix of all the other theories. In our opinion the multi-level selection is the cause of unnecessary confusion because it accepts selection on all levels, but the theory puts a new perspective on the debate about the development of altruistic behavior.

UddannelserBasis - Naturvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato14 jan. 2014


  • Evolution
  • Altruism