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Meerkats: Another classic Darwinian just-so story

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Researchers studying Meerkats over a long period of time attempted to account for why they were unusually helpful to other meerkats

Meerkats babysat and fed one another’s offspring; took turns guarding the group; and dug communal burrows. Analysis showed that, for the most part, these actions were undertaken without regard to how closely related the beneficiary was to the helper.

The researchers suspect that because all members of a meerkat group are closely related, it makes sense for them to be indiscriminately helpful. “The furry carnivores that are the ultimate altruists” at Nature

This story is a classic in the way Darwinism means everything, anything, and nothing. If helping other meerkats raise their offspring makes sense because meerkats are closely related, why don’t other closely related life forms do the same thing? Or do they? Clearly, this behavior is a surprise to the researchers but if both Darwinism and their suspicions are correct, it should be a principle of some kind instead.

But can they afford to check it out?

Note: How about this as an alternative explanation: From the vid below, we can see that meerkats are colonial animals which, for example, take turns acting as lookouts while others forage. That behavior requires a fair degree of trust and co-operation. The simplest way for the behavior to exist and continue would be if, for the meerkat, altruism is the default setting. Therefore it also looks after young, irrespective of kinship. Claims about the Darwinian selfish gene or kin selection are not borne out because they are irrelevant to the meerkat’s main problem which is that its safety depends on the safety of the whole group.

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See also: Kirk Durston: What do we do when Darwinism looks less like science all the time? Craig Venter: All living cells that we know of on this planet are “DNA software”-driven biological machines, comprised of hundreds of thousands of protein robots, coded for by the DNA.


Kin selection: Could we all get together and evolve as a group?


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