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Lending a Helping Paw: When Animals Cooperate [Slide Show]

Competition has been a vital force in the evolution of life on Earth, but it has not acted alone. Cooperation, too, has played an essential part. So argues mathematical biologist Martin Nowak of Harvard University in the cover story of the July 2012 issue of Scientific American. The slide show below pictures some of the many creatures known to assist those in need.

» View the slide show

  • HUNGER GAMES:
    HUNGER GAMES:
    When a vampire bat misses a meal, one of its roost mates may regurgitate some of its meal to share with the hungry bat.
  • TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS:
    TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS:
    Small fish known as wrasses nibble dead skin and parasites from large, predatory groupers.
  • GIVING DIRECTIONS:
    GIVING DIRECTIONS:

    Foraging honey bees show fellow foragers they way to good food sources.

  • WINGMAN:
    WINGMAN:

    Male olive baboons will partner up to drive away a female’s existing consort, giving one of the pair the chance to mate with her.

  • STANDING GUARD:
    STANDING GUARD:

    Some meerkats act as sentinels, warning group members with an alarm call when they spy a predator.

  • IT TAKES A VILLAGE:
    IT TAKES A VILLAGE:

    Among Florida scrub jays, helpers assist with the rearing of chicks that are not their own.

  • HUNTING PARTY:
    HUNTING PARTY:

    Male chimpanzees sometimes team up to hunt monkeys for food.

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