Why slimy cheats don’t win: ‘Cheating’ amoebae don’t survive better than ‘cooperating’ amoebae

31 marzo 2015

Darwin’s evolutionary theory predicts survival of the fittest. So why do different survival tactics co-exist, if evolution should always favor the winning strategy? To answer that question scientists have been studying a single-celled amoeba, also known as slime mold, which displays certain behaviors that have been labelled as «cheating» or «cooperating.» They found that cheaters don’t necessarily win in terms of overall survival, suggesting that biologists should re-evaluate how they define and measure social cooperation.