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Abstract

Observations on murres on Vedöy (63° 30′ 12° E) from 1956 to 1975 and systematic investigations in order to analyze helping relationships in 62 breeding pairs and 30 chicks during 196 h of observation gave the following results: The attempt of each breeding pair to protect its only egg or chick results in helping neighbours with the defense against approaching birds of prey. The occurrence of brooding helpers is excluded as, from the different looking eggs, each brooder is only able to retrieve its own. After the loss of an own egg or chick adults may take strange chicks under their wing. To be fed these go back to their own parents. Helping behavior in murres is non-altruistic, and favors the selection of the individual but not the selection of the tribe.