Altruism in Animal Life


YOUR Deal correspondent, Mr. Christopher Morse, has told you (p. 437) of an ablutionary caterpillar; let me tell you of life-saving “eels” in vinegar. I was examining the creatures with a microscope when one of them became stranded, owing to its having strayed into the shallower portion of the vinegar-drop, and there it wriggled the while the fluid grew shallower still. Just as it seemed on the point of giving its last expiring wriggle, what was my amazement to see three or four other “eels” make a dash from the deeper vinegar, and force themselves across the shallow to where lay their stranded comrade.

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ELGIE, J. Altruism in Animal Life. Nature 83, 489 (1910).

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