Exam Question


Question 1: Using examples, evaluate the statement that 'all behaviour is ultimately selfish' (Dawkins, 1989)

  • Dawkins (1989) stated that "All behaviour is ultimately selfish" - Why?
    • Natural selection dictates that all individuals are attempting to increase their own reproductive fitness
    • Apparent altruistic behaviour will always have a benefit to the individual
    • Evolutionary stable strategies
      • Great **** - Perrins - reproducing as fast as they can

Key themes

  • Direct /indirect fitness increasing individuals reproductive success
  • Relatedness influencing Kin selection (Hamilton's Rule)
  • Benefits need to outweigh the cost
  • Inclusive fitness
  • Coefficient of relatedness
  • For GS to work, populations need to be isolated, to prevent migration of selfish individuals


  • Helpers at the nest/plural breeding
  • Acorn woodpeckers
  • Long tailed ****
  • Meerkats
    • Eusociality
  • Naked mole rats
  • Bees
  • Ants


Question 2: Using examples, appraise the statement that 'evolution occurs for the good of the species' (Williams, 1966)

  • Wynne-Edwards (1962-1986) - Group selection
  • Group selection - groups with selfish


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