Sunday, May 11, 2008
Mark Vernon has a post speculating about altruism in animals. It reminded me of a story I once saw a farmer tell on television of a chicken who didn't have chicks until relatively late in life. She was out in the yard watching them when a hawk suddenly appeared. With no time to get them to safety, she gathered the chicks underneath her and took the hit herself. Miraculously the hawk missed by enough that a kill was avoided, and the farmer scared it off. It's hard to explain that without altruism, or the famed maternal instinct we celebrate today.