To Begin at the Beginning…

Would you donate part of your body to a stranger – someone you’ve never met and who will never repay you? Someone did, last year. Actually, 104 people did. One person even gave away a bit of their liver.

If you prefer a less permanent form of doing good, maybe you’d carry out a random act of kindness? Or how about hugging a stranger? That’s still quite nice.

So why can humans be so good to one another? And why can we sometimes be such bastards? The evolution of cooperation has captured the attentions and imaginations of many. (A quick Google Scholar search notched up nearly THIRTY THOUSAND articles on cooperation and evolution in 2013 alone. That’s over 170 articles a day, at the time of writing.)

I’ll be spending the next couple of months in the north of Norway, trying to add a little bit more to the science. This project will take me to the summer pastures of Saami reindeer herders, on the start of my quest to understand how and why they work together.

This blog will function as a scientific travelogue, a fieldwork journal, a place to natter about the evolution of human behaviours – to document my wanderings and wonderings.

In future entries, I will expand on my research project, the theories behind it, and explain just why I’m choosing to wander 200 miles into the Arctic Circle to do all this.