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Answered 2009-04-22 22:47:44

Behavorial altruism is any action that benefits others. It does not concern intentions as psychological altruism does. When pertaining to animal behavior, biological altruism (a form a behavorial altruism) refers to any behavior that reduces the fitness of the organism performing it and increases the fitness of another organism. An example of this would be eusocial organisms such as bees. Bees sacrifice their own lives in order to protect the lives of their kin. They don't do this out of the "goodness of their hearts" (bees certainly aren't that noble of organisms) - it is in their genetic code. Why would an organism go against natural selection and kill themselves for the good of another? In "The Selfish Gene" Richard Dawkins theorizes that it is the genes, not the individual that is trying to stay alive. Bees exhibit haplodiploidy, which means that the genetic relationship between kin are strikingly similar. (more so than diploid organisms) Thus, a gene will tell the bee to kill itself in order to preserve its copies in other related organisms. Altruism is rooted in selfishness.

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