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Evolution Of Social Behavior


Social behavior consists of the different interactions that take place among individuals within a single species. There are wide ranges of social behaviors that occur among different animal groups. Some animals very rarely interact with one another, even with regard to parental care. Some of the most antisocial animals include polar bears and mosquitoes. Very social organisms live in small groups, or large groups, and cooperate with one another in order to complete tasks. Some of the best examples of larger social groups among the animal kingdom include schools of fish and wolves. Some of the most highly social animals will form very tightly knit communities. Some examples of this include bees and ants.


Social behavior of different animal groups is adaptive. This means that social behavior will increase with the fitness level of the animal. The lifetime reproductive success of an animal also influences social behavior. Aggregation against predators can give us a great example of how social behavior is adaptive. You can see this concept with schools of fish, flocks of birds, or caterpillars that feed together on the single leaf.


A landscape that has a single wildebeest can be easy for a lien to consume. But if all of the wildebeests on the landscape gathered together in one group, the risk of one animal being eaten is greatly reduced. In this circumstance, if a predator does attack, the odds of one individual being the target is 100% for an animal standing by itself. But in a group of 100, that percentage drops to 1%. In groups of 1000 that percentage drops to 1/10 of a percent. There are social costs tied to aggregating in a large group, such as an in adequate amount of food or water out of particular grazing site. But the social aggregations are much smaller compared to the benefit that a large group offers in terms of defense against predators. This is one example of how costs and benefits related to social behavior can evolve and be maintained differently among different groups.


Living in a group requires a balance of cooperation and conflict. Never the benefits of living together exceed the risks, social cooperation is favored. The benefits of social life generally take place throughout truest to ask. This is an act that increases the welfare of another member of the group. You can see this behavior and ground squirrels who warn other members of their larger group when a hawk is flying overhead. Of course this does bring with it the risk that the hawk will hear the warning call and hone in on that one squirrel. Nonetheless such social behavior proves beneficial for the survival of many species.

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