Altruistic animals: Bald ibis, vampire bats, birds reciprocal relationships (VIDEO).

Can Animals Be Altruistic? Look at the Flying V.

Can Animals Be Altruistic? Look at the Flying V.

The state of the universe.
Feb. 20 2015 11:42 AM

Can Animals Be Altruistic?

How the flying V may be a rare example of “reciprocal altruism."  

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As with many birds, ibis fly in the V formation we’ve all seen pass above us. The V is a natural lesson in aerodynamics: Each trailing bird rides in the slipstream of the bird in front of it, stealing a bit of lift from the forward-position flyer. And as a new study reports, it may be a rare example of true “reciprocal altruism” in animals. Watch the video above to see how.

Paca Thomas is a regular video contributor to Slate.