Altruistic bet-hedging and the evolution of cooperation in a Kalahari bird

Pablo Capilla-Lasheras, Xavier Harrison, Emma Wood, Alastair Wilson & Andrew Young
Analyses of the global biogeography of altruism suggest that unpredictable environments have favoured the evolution of altruistic helping behaviour (helping to rear the offspring of others). It has therefore been hypothesised that selection for altruism may frequently arise because helping reduces variance in the reproductive success of relatives in unpredictable environments (a scenario termed ‘altruistic bet-hedging’). Here we show that helping behaviour does reduce environmentally-induced variance in the reproductive success of relatives in a wild...
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