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Two cheetahs grooming eachother
Two cheetahs grooming eachother
Pascaline Minet

LAUSANNE — Is wildlife a world of bullies? We like to imagine the relationships among living beings as a no-holds-barred struggle for survival, a twisted vision of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, conveyed by the political and economic doctrine of social Darwinism. And yet, examples of cooperation abound in the animal world. Mammals, insects and even microorganisms, virtually all living beings who live in groups actually, have developed forms of collaboration. Helping each other out can be beneficial to all parties, for example when killer whales team up to hunt and improve their chances to feed and ultimately survive.

But are there really authentic altruistic behaviors in the animal world? "Altruism is a selfless act, with no other benefit than to improve the state of the other," says Jennifer Mcclung, an ethologist at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. "As far as animals are concerned, this behavior can be observed mostly in how parents care for their offspring, while human beings can be altruistic with perfect strangers." Not all experts agree with the idea of talking about bona fide altruism in animal behavior. Yet, examples defy the doubts: Some animals really do bend over backwards for others.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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