TOEFL – WQ1 (3)

The reading explains about altruism. Altruism is opposite of selfishness and refers to the act of an animal putting others interest before itself. In support of the topic, reading presents before us examples of altruism practiced by human beings and Meerkat, mammals living in African grasslands. The professor in the lecture, however, opposes the examples presented in the reading.

First, accroding to the passage, human beings donate organs to family members, and in some cases even to strangers. This unselfish act shows human beings practicing altruism. According to the passage, the people who have donated organs do not get much in return. This is opposed by the lecturer. According to her, they do receive appreciation and gain self worth. Consequently, human act of donation of organs cannot be regarded as an act of atruism because there is a reward associated to it.

Second, the reading presents an example of mammals named Meerkat. According to the passage, one of the Meerkat stands ground as a sentinel while the others hunt for food. The sentinel does not eat but ensures others eat in safety by alrming them if a predator approaches. While the other Meerkats run to safety, the sentinel ensures not to leave the ground unless all others are safe. Hence, this act of putting one’s life before others appears as an act of altruism. The professor in the lecture, however, refutes the details mentioned in the passage. She presents a study conducted which clearly states that the Meerkat working as sentinal eats before the others go for hunting and eating. Also, the sentinel stands ground near a burrow, hence, the sentinel is most likely to run to the safety first. According to her the study also revealed that once the sentinel raises the alarm, the other Meerkats either start running in groups or start to disperse. This attracts the predator more towards the hunting Meerkat instead of the sentinel. Hence, according to the lecturer Meerkat is also not a perfect example of animals practising Altruism.


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