We argue, however, that most instances of animal cooperation can be attributed to either selfish or indirect benefits via mutualism and helping kin. We suggest that reciprocal altruism among unrelated indi-viduals is rare if not absent among animals, despite its ubiquity in humans. In cases where it occurs in the lab, it is unclear whether the patterns observed would generalize to more natural and less controlled situations. We propose that cognitive constraints on temporal discounting, numeri-cal discrimination, learning and memory, and other com-ponents limit the ability of many species to implement and maintain reciprocally altruistic strategies. If correct, then comparative research must illuminate which components are shared with other animals, which are unique to hu-mans, and why certain components evolved in our species and no other.
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