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Integrated writing task - please provide feedback.

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Integrated writing task - please provide feedback.  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Apr 2017, 09:11
The Reading:

Altruism is a type of behavior in which an animal sacrifices its own interest for that of another animal or group of animals. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness; individuals performing altruistic acts gain nothing for themselves. Examples of altruism abound, both among humans and among other mammals. Unselfish acts among humans range from the sharing of food with strangers to the donation of body organs to family members, and even to strangers. Such acts are altruistic in that they benefit another, yet provide little reward to the one performing the act.

In fact, many species of animals appear willing to sacrifice food, or even their life, to assist other members of their group. The meerkat, which is a mammal that dwells in burrows in grassland areas of Africa, is often cited as an example. In groups of meerkats, an individual acts as a sentinel, standing guard and looking out for predators while the others hunt for food or eat food they have obtained. If the sentinel meerkat sees a predator such as a hawk approaching the group, it gives an alarm cry alerting the other meerkats to run and seek shelter. By standing guard, the sentinel meerkat gains nothing - it goes without food while the others eat, and it places itself in grave danger. After it issues an alarm, it has to flee alone, which might make it more at risk to a predator, since animals in groups are often able to work together to fend off a predator. So the altruistic sentinel behavior helps ensure the survival of other members of the meerkat’s group.

Listening Script

You know, often in science, new findings force us to re-examine earlier beliefs and assumptions. And a recent study of meerkats is having exactly this effect. The study examined the meerkat’s behavior quite closely, much more closely than had ever been done before. And some interesting things were found… like about eating habits… it showed that typically meerkats eat before they stand guard – so the ones standing guard had a full stomach! And the study also found that since the sentinel is the first to see a predator coming, it’s the most likely to escape… because it often stands guard near a burrow, so it can run immediately into the burrow after giving the alarm. The other meerkats, the ones scattered about looking for food, are actually in greater danger. And in fact, other studies have suggested that when an animal creates an alarm, the alarm call might cause the other group members either to gather together or else to move about very quickly, behaviors that might actually draw the predator’s attention away from the caller, increasing that animal’s own chances of survival. And what about people – what about some human acts that might be considered altruistic? Let’s take an extreme case, uh, suppose a person donates a kidney to a relative, or even to a complete stranger. A selfish act, right? But …. Doesn’t the donor receive appreciation and approval from the stranger and from society? Doesn’t the donor gain an increased sense of self-worth? Couldn’t such non-material rewards be considered very valuable to some people?

My essay : WC- 251

The article is about altruism which the passage defines as a selfless act done for the welfare of others. The articles provides two examples of animals that display such altruistic behaviour - Humans and Meerkats. However the professor explains that the acts displayed by both these animals are not entirely selfless.

First, the article gives the example of human beings, and posits that humans engage in altrustic behavior when they donate their body organs. The professor refutes this point by saying that human beings gain appreciation and approval from society, and an increased sense of self-worth. Hence, the act of donating organs found in human beings is not entirely selfless. According to the professor, such non-material benefits should also be considered in deciding whether an act is completely selfless.

Second, the reading illustrates the concept of altruism by providing the example of meerkats. The article claims that when a meerkat stands gaurd while other meerkats are either eating or hunting, the meerkat is acting selflessly. The professor opposes this point by saying that the meerkat that stands gaurd enjoys better chances of escaping from a predator and has easier access to the burrow in which to hide than other meercats. Further, passage states that the meerkat that acts as a sentinel is selfless because it goes without food while others eat. However, the professor states that the meercat eats before standing guard and thus already has a full stomach.

In summary, the professor refutes both the examples provided in the passage.
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Integrated writing task - please provide feedback.   [#permalink] 30 Apr 2017, 09:11
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