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Kin recognition and the evolution of altruism Aneil F. Agrawal

Summary: Kin recognition and the evolution of altruism
Aneil F. Agrawal
Department of Biology and Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Indiana University, 1001 East 3rd Street,
Bloomington, IN 47405-3700, USA (aagrawal@bio.indiana.edu)
In 1964, Hamilton formalized the idea of kin selection to explain the evolution of altruistic behaviours.
Since then, numerous examples from a diverse array of taxa have shown that seemingly altruistic actions
towards close relatives are a common phenomenon. Although many species use kin recognition to direct
altruistic behaviours preferentially towards relatives, this important aspect of social biology is less well
understood theoretically. I extend Hamilton's classic work by de˘ning the conditions for the evolution of
kin-directed altruism when recognizers are permitted to make acceptance (type I) and rejection (type
II) errors in the identi˘cation of social partners with respect to kinship. The eĦect of errors in recognition
on the evolution of kin-directed altruism depends on whether the population initially consists of uncondi-
tional altruists or non-altruists (i.e. alternative forms of non-recognizers). Factors aĦecting the level of
these error rates themselves, their evolution and their long-term stability are discussed.
Keywords: altruism; kin recognition; Hamilton's rule; recognition errors
Although various exceptions to Hamilton's (1964a,b) rule
have been noted when the simplifying assumptions of the
theory are violated (e.g. Charlesworth 1978; Uyenoyama
& Feldman 1982; Karlin & Matessi 1983), it remains a


Source: Agrawal, Aneil F. - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology