Social evolution: A biological history of cooperation

Pau Carazo


To talk about life is to talk about cooperation. Its evolutionary origin, different levels of organisation, and current complexity are the result of cooperation between different biological entities. This is also the case with animal societies, including the most complex of them all, the human society. Our language and extraordinary culture, our cities and vast social networks, are the fruit of cooperation. In a world dominated by Darwinian competition, how has cooperation come to play such an important role? Social evolution, the study of the biological bases of cooperation, tackles this question. From the origin of the first cell and to the explosion of social life in animals, social evolution explains how and why cooperation has guided life on our planet.


biology; cooperation; altruism; social behaviour; human societies; social evolution

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