One of the ongoing debates simmering in evolutionary biology lately is the competition versus cooperation argument. On one side, we have the more traditional Darwinian position that competition is the primary driver of adaptation, and hence survival of any given species.

But more recently, the idea is gaining traction that humans may have evolved most successfully not due to “survival of the fittest” but rather, “survival of the kindest,” quoting Dr. Dacher Keltner Co-Director of the Greater Good Society at UC Berkeley.

Unless you take a dogmatic position for either side, I don’t think these positions are mutually exclusive. It seems to me possible that human evolution benefited from ongoing competition, interspersed with periods of intense cooperation. After all, as human population densities started to grow, it’s impossible to remove cooperation from the mix – otherwise our “normal” would be a violent dystopian nightmare.

Read more at Forbes.