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Nepotistic bee-eaters

Gadagkar, Raghavendra and Venkataraman, Arun B (1990) Nepotistic bee-eaters. In: Current Science, 59 (9). pp. 445-446.


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Darwin's theory of natural selection which is often described rather dramatically as 'survival of the fittest' expects animals to behave in a selfish manner towards all other individuals except their own offspring. There are however several tantalizing examples of behaviours among animals that may be termed altruistic- the most striking of these are several instances of 'helpers' among insects, birds and mammals that temporarily or permanaently forego their own reproduction and help other members of their species reproduce. The most important conceptual advance in our attempt to explain such 'paradoxical' behaviour came in 1964 with Hamilton's theory of kin selection or inclusive fitness. The central idea of this theory is that fitness comes not only from rearing one;s own offspring but may also come from caring for one's genetic relatives. In other words, altruistic behaviour is not paradoxical if it is also nepotistic, i.e. directed preferentially towrds genetic relatives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/9359

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