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O. Wilson, 1975; Dawkins, 1976, 1979, 1985; Van den Berghe & Barash, 1977; Michod, 1982; Krebs & Davies, 1984; Grafen, 1984; Trivers, 1985; Fox, 1989; Cronin, 7 1991) . In order to appreciate this solution, consider for a moment what exactly, and how enormous, the problem was for the Darwinian view of nature. I freely paraphrase Cronin’s (1991) eloquent account: A bird gives an alarm call. This seems a highly altruistic act: warning others of danger but perilously alerting predators to its own presence.

For the most part, it has now been shown (by George C. Williams [1966] and others) that the illusion of group selection can usually be explained by individual selection or by kin selection". The mechanisms involved are quite easy to understand: "Traits that lower individual reproductive success tend automatically to be eliminated from the  population so that later, possible indirect benefits to the species itself are irrelevant to the traits’ fate within the species. 9). The other generic meaning of the term ’group selection’ is the idea that in the course of human evolution, groups have competed with one another - some groups subjugating other groups, some groups absorbing and assimilating other groups, some groups even eliminating other groups altogether - and that these events must have had an impact on the gene pools and (the direction of) human evolution.

S. ) . 12 Ultimate versus Proximate Explanations An important distinction in evolutionary biology, indeed in any attempt to explain animal and human behavior, is that between ultimate (or evolutionary or phylogenetic) and proximate (or immediate or ontogenetic) causes. ). But the time scale involved in proximate explanations is confined to the life span of the individual, from embryo in utero to corpse in humero. An ultimate explanation, on the other hand, would ask: why did this particular behavior evolve?

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