Alert reader Steve called my attention to a “must-see photos” section of the MSN website. Well, not all of them are must-see, but a few are nice and related to biology or astronomy (click to enlarge):
First, is this “alstruism”? The stinging worker bee (a female, as all workers are) is going to die, for she’s just lost her internal organs in defense of the nest. But it’s not genuine altruism, for by sacrificing her life, she’s perpetuating her genes, shared by her mother who will produce hundreds more sisters that carrying this same gene for defense. Thus the loss of life accrues a genetic gain. This evolved by kin selection, not group selection!
I suspect the photograph was wrong as I recall having seen similar pictures elsewhere. Still, it’s a nice photo, and demonstrates very well how natural selection can cause one to commit suicide for the greater good of one’s genes.