Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

4-2009

Publication Source

Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America

Volume

90

Issue

2

Start Page

218

Last Page

221

DOI

10.1890/0012-9623-90.2.218

Abstract

One of the most fascinating topics in evolutionary biology is how and why organisms cooperate with each other. Natural selection works through competition between alleles for representation in the next generation. Yet one sees everywhere organisms actually helping each other, from mutualisms between ants and plants to the altruistic acts of firefighters storming into burning buildings to rescue people. But how can natural selection lead to cooperation? This, of course, is not a new question, and a tremendous amount of work in evolutionary theory in the last 40 years has shown that helping others can frequently be the winning strategy in the struggle for existence. We have a sophisticated theory of social evolution, dealing not only with helping behaviors, but also other behaviors such as policing, spiteful harm-doing, and so on.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Copyright by the Ecological Society of America.

Comments

At the time of publication, author Erol Akçay was affiliated with Stanford University. Currently, he is a faculty member at the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Posted: 30 September 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.