Sociobiology in turmoil again

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2010) Sociobiology in turmoil again Current Science, 99 (8). pp. 1036-1041. ISSN 0011-3891

PDF - Publisher Version

Official URL:


Altruism is defined as any behaviour that lowers the Darwinian fitness of the actor while increasing that of the recipient. Such altruism (especially in the form of lifetime sterility exhibited by sterile workers in eusocial insects such as ants, bees, wasps and termites) has long been considered a major difficulty for the theory of natural selection. In the 1960s W. D. Hamilton potentially solved this problem by defining a new measure of fitness that he called inclusive fitness, which also included the effect of an individual's action on the fitness of genetic relatives. This has come to be known as inclusive fitness theory, Hamilton's rule or kin selection. E. O. Wilson almost single-handedly popularized this new approach in the 1970s and thus helped create a large body of new empirical research and a large community of behavioural ecologists and kin selectionists. Adding thrill and drama to our otherwise sombre lives, Wilson is now leading a frontal attack on Hamilton's approach, claiming that the inclusive fitness theory is not as mathematically general as the standard natural selection theory, has led to no additional biological insights and should therefore be abandoned. The world cannot but sit up and take notice.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Current Science Association.
Keywords:Altruism; Eusociality; Hamilton's Rule; Inclusive Fitness Theory; Kin Selection; Sociobiology
ID Code:75438
Deposited On:23 Dec 2011 07:00
Last Modified:18 May 2016 19:27

Repository Staff Only: item control page