Fortune favours the brave; but the brave are motivated by favours of another kind

by oneafrikan on August 27, 2008

I’m getting some interesting nuggets coming in via the little news feed at the top of Gmail…
This one looks at why soldiers are motivated by glory, despite the risks – makes for good reading if you’re interested in natural selection.
_ Fortune favours the brave; but the brave are motivated by favours of another kind – Times Online

From the heroic 300 Spartans of Thermopylae to the Charge of the Light Brigade, history is littered with tales of the bravery of men who knew that death was as likely an outcome as glory.

Such courage has always been recognised as a supreme asset by military strategists — Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century Prussian theorist, described it as “above all things . . . the first quality of a warrior”. For biologists, however, it poses a problem: humans simply should not have evolved to be heroic: the dangers to life and limb are too great.

Now, it appears, the solution to this evolutionary puzzle may lie in sex. New research suggests that braver soldiers may ultimately win more sexual partners as well as more battles, and that the extra chances to spread their genes can outweigh the risk of dying in combat.

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