Inclusive Fitness Theory

The inclusive fitness theory is a model for the evolution of social behaviors or traits that was proposed by W. D. Hamilton. In evolutionary biology, individual genetic success is defined as having the opportunity to pass along positive traits a maximum number of times through direct reproduction.

However, researcher William Hamilton, in research that was published in 1963-64, proposed that indirect reproduction (where other members of a closely related group are able to reproduce) can be equally successful even if one member of the group is lost.

In an action referred to as reciprocal altruism, an animal (for example, a prairie dog), sees a predator coming and in sounding a warning to other members of the colony gives its own location away and might die for that action. However, having saved the remainder of the colony, allows the other colony members to continue to reproduce, it has succeeded in allowing for the continued passage of desirable genes.

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