Why would most evolutionary bi

Why would most evolutionary biologists expect kin selection tobe the main (or only) mechanism by which altruism occurs?

Why have evolutionary biologists struggled to explain theadaptive significance of altruistic behavior?


Altruism means the behavior that benefits another individual ata cost to oneself. Let’s say, for example, giving your lunch awayis altruistic because it helps someone who is hungry, but at a costof being hungry yourself. The animals and humans are morealtruistic towards close kin than to distant kin and non-kin. Thismechanism by which altruism works has been confirmed in variousstudies across many different cultures. There are many cues forindicating kinship. One is facial resemblance. Another cue ishaving the same family name. These have been found to increasealtruistic behavior. In humans, altruism is on a large scale withkin than unrelated individuals. In other species like velvetmonkeys, they use allomothering, where related females such asolder sisters or grandmothers often care for young, according totheir relatedness. We give presents according to how close we areto the recipient. So, most biologists expect kin selection to bethe main mechanism by which altruism occurs.

Kin selection is an example of adaptive behavior that directlyinfluences the genetic composition of a population. It involvsevolutionary strategies that favor the persistence of an organism’srelatives, often at a cost of the organism’s own survival andreproduction. But, this may not be the case always. Sometimes, theindividual would be more concerned for his survival andreproduction. So, that individual might not behave in an altruisticway towards his kins. By doing that, many changes takes place forthe survival of the fittest. These are called variations. Thiscontributes to evolution. Newly evolved species are formed by this.But if they always behave altruistically, the same genes will bepassed on to the next generation. That is why the biologistsstruggled to explain the adaptive significance of altruisticbehavior.

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