Altruism Of Non Human Animals Essay

1338 Words Dec 1st, 2015 6 Pages
At its core, altruism is when an individual behaves in a manner that benefits others at a cost to him or herself. Some believe that we as a species are inherently selfish creatures and are therefore incapable of true altruism. They say that any altruistic behavior is done in expectation of reciprocation or, at the very least, a nontangible benefit of self-satisfaction. In many, perhaps even most, cases this may be true. But this expectation of benefit from an act of altruism doesn’t hold true in all circumstances. As a thinking moral species we can overcome the selfishness of biological altruism to find the selflessness of true altruism. To understand the foundation of biological altruism we must first look at the altruism of non-human animals.

I. Non-human Altruism
Most non-human animals are not capable of forming a conscious decision to engage in selfless behavior, and consequentially they also cannot be said to expect reciprocation. Yet many animals engage in some form of altruistic behavior. Altruistic behavior is well known within the animal kingdom, especially in species with social structures of a more complex nature. For example, among social insects such as ant colonies, hive members will dedicate and sacrifice their very lives to protect the hive and their queen. To ensure that other members of their group do not starve to death, after a successful night of hunting, vampire bats will regularly regurgitate blood to feed those within the group who failed to find…

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