Meerkat "sentinels," so–called because they watch for predators while other meerkat group members forage, almost neve...

Andrew on February 12, 2023

Why not A?

To me, the Meerkat barking while it's running to safety tends to undermine the conclusion that being a sentinel is partly motivated by altruism. I understand that you can't glean the meerkats motivations from its bark but nonetheless it would seem to me that running back to the hole before you even start barking would undermine a conclusion that suggests its motives were altruistic. As for C, is the correct interpretation that the bark could just be because the meerkat was scared and the alert is incidental? Why is A not correct? The line of thinking that would lead someone to C would not and likely never will occur to me. I instead need to find out why I should've ruled out A.

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Emil on February 16, 2023

Hi, I think you be slightly misleading the passage. The sentinel doesn't only bark once it has reached safety, it barks as it is running for cover. The fact that it alerts others while saving itself doesn't undermine the idea that it could be acting at least in part out of altruism. I think your interpretation is correct. Perhaps meerkats always bark as they run. If this were true, then the bark wouldn't be an act of altruism at all. Just because the bark occurs does not prove it is altruistic, which is what C says, however, it also doesn't undermine the idea it is altruistic, which is the bar we need to reach for A to be correct.

Andrew on February 18, 2023

Ok. Thanks Emil