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By Professor Martin Nowak

Harvard University, USA

We all know that Darwinian evolution is based on competition and 'survival of the fittest' but this doesn't square easily with the evolution of altruistic behaviour - even though many animals, especially humans, regularly engage in cooperative behaviour. Martin Nowak proposes that cooperation is as fundamental to evolution as natural selection and that, for our own species, the interplay between cooperation and communication has led to the emergence of a new mode of evolution.

The second in a series of lectures on the nature of human knowledge and understanding supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.