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Boom-de-yadda
There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
more news about our closest relatives 
17th-Apr-2006 09:36 am
note to self
Psychological news from the world of primates: chimpanzees demonstrate altruism.

New ground rule: if members of a species have saved human lives or demonstrated the capacity for altruistic behavior, DON'T EAT THEM. That means no cats*, dogs, horses, parrots, dolphins, or monkeys on the dinner table, thankyouverymuch.

*Except for around our place, where "Nemo! Paws! Off the table, dude!" is a frequent utterance. *sigh*
Comments 
17th-Apr-2006 06:14 pm (UTC)
There are three requirements for an evolutionary advantage to non-kin altruism.
  1. Sufficient memory to track reciprocation.
  2. An opportunity for reciprocation.
  3. The ability to cease cooperation if the recipient does not reciprocate.
If a species has those three things, they will probably exhibit non-kin altruism. Many kinds of primates do this. Most animals exhibit kin altruism.
18th-Apr-2006 01:35 am (UTC)
New ground rule: if members of a species have saved human lives or demonstrated the capacity for altruistic behavior, DON'T EAT THEM.

I'm not into this rule. I've got a simpler one: the ratio between awesomeness and deliciousness must be sufficiently low to be considered food.

Example: cows are delicious. They are not especially awesome. Food.

Octopus are not especially delicious. They are awesome. Not food.

Buffalo are awesome, but they are even more delicious. Food.

Chimps: very, very awesome. Probably not delicious enough. Not food.
18th-Apr-2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
There are altruistic cats?
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