Human Biological and Cultural Evolution Group

Research Highlights

Here is a selection of publications by members of our group. You can find further publications on individual members personal websites.


Whiten A, Caldwell CA, Mesoudi A (2016). Cultural diffusion in humans and other animals. Current Opinion in Psychology, 8, 15-21. Full text

Engesser S, Crane JMS, Savage JL, Russell AF, Townsend SW (2015). Experimental Evidence for Phonemic Contrasts in a Nonhuman Vocal System. Plos Biol, 13(6). Author URL

Savage PE, Brown S, Sakai E, Currie TE (2015). Statistical universals reveal the structures and functions of human music. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112(29), 8987-8992. Author URL 

Croft DP, Brent LJ, Franks DW, Cant MA (2015). The evolution of prolonged life after reproduction. Trends Ecol Evol, 30(7), 407-416. Author URL  

Mesoudi A (2015). Cultural Evolution: a Review of Theory, Findings and Controversies. Evolutionary Biology. Full text

Thornton A, Mcauliffe K (2015). Cognitive consequences of cooperative breeding? a critical appraisal. Journal of Zoology, 295(1), 12-22. Full text 

Watts J, Greenhill SJ, Atkinson QD, Currie TE, Bulbulia J, Gray RD (2015). Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, 282(1804). Author URL

Kramer KL, Russell AF (2015). Was monogamy a key step on the hominin road? Reevaluating the monogamy hypothesis in the evolution of cooperative breeding. Evolutionary Anthropology, 24(2), 73-83

Acerbi A, Mesoudi A (2015). If we are all cultural Darwinians what's the fuss about? Clarifying recent disagreements in the field of cultural evolution. Biology and Philosophy, 30(4), 481-503. Full text

McAuliffe K, Wrangham R, Glowacki L, Russell AF (2015). When cooperation begets cooperation: the role of key individuals in galvanizing support. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 370(1683). Author URL

Aplin, L.M., Farine, D.R., Morand-Ferron, J., Cockburn, A., Thornton, A. & Sheldon, B.C. (2015) Experimentally induced innovations lead to persistent culture via conformity in wild birds. Nature.

Opie, C., Shultz, S. Atkinson, Q.D., Currie, T. & Mace, R. (2014) Phylogenetic reconstruction of Bantu kinship challenges Main Sequence Theory of human social evolution. PNAS 111(49): 17414-17419 doi:10.1073/pnas.1415744111

Kramer, K.L., Russell, A.F. (2014). Kin-selected cooperation without lifetime monogamy: human insights and animal implications. Trends Ecol Evol.  Author URL

Currie TE, Mace R (2014). Evolution of cultural traits occurs at similar relative rates in different world regions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 281(1795). Author URL

Lamba, S. (2014). Social learning in cooperative dilemmas. Proc Biol Sci,281(1787). Author URL

Turchin, P., Currie, T.E., Turner, E.A.L., Gavrilets, S. (2013). War, space, and the evolution of Old World complex societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America110(41), 16384-16389.

Gillespie, D.O.S., Russell, A.F., Lummaa, V. (2013). The effect of maternal age and reproductive history on offspring survival and lifetime reproduction in preindustrial humans. Evolution, 67, 1964-1974.

Cant, M.A., Young, A.J. (2013) Resolving social conflict among females without overt aggression. Phil Trans R Soc B 368: 20130076

Lahdenperä, M., Gillespie, D.O.S., Lummaa, V., Russell, A.F.(2012). Severe intergenerational reproductive conflict and the evolution of menopause. Ecology Letters15(11), 1283-1293.

Thornton, A., Lukas, D. (2012). Individual variation in cognitive performance: developmental and evolutionary perspectives. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci367(1603), 2773-2783. Author URL

Raihani, N. J., Thornton, A. & Bshary, R. 2012. Punishment and cooperation in nature. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 27, 288-295

Dall, S.R.X., Bell, A.M., Bolnick, D.I., Ratnieks, F.L.W. (2012). An evolutionary ecology of individual differences. Ecology Letters15(10), 1189-1198

Lamba, S., Mace, R. (2011). Demography and ecology drive variation in cooperation across human populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A,108(35), 14426-14430. Author URL

Thornton, A., Clutton-Brock, T. (2011). Social learning and the development of individual and group behaviour in mammal societies. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci366(1567), 978-987. Author URL

Lahdenperä, M., Russell, A.F., Tremblay, M., Lummaa, V. (2011). Selection on menopause in two premodern human populations: no evidence for the Mother Hypothesis. Evolution, 65, 476-489. 

Currie, T.E., Greenhill, S.J., Gray, R.D., Hasegawa, T., Mace, R. (2010). Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the Pacific. Nature467(7317), 801-804. Author URL

Thornton, A., Samson, J. & Clutton-Brock, T. 2010. Multi-generational persistence of traditions in neighbouring meerkat groups. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 277, 3623-3629

Johnstone, R.A., Cant, M.A. (2010). The evolution of menopause in cetaceans and humans: the role of demography. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences277(1701), 3765-3771.

Currie, T.E., Mace, R. (2009). Political complexity predicts the spread of ethnolinguistic groups. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A106(18), 7339-7344. Abstract.  Author URL

Russell, A.F., Lummaa, V. (2009). Maternal effects in cooperative breeders: from hymenopterans to humans. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci364(1520), 1143-1167. Author URL

Cant, M.A., Johnstone, R.A. (2008). Reproductive conflict and the separation of reproductive generations in humans.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A105(14), 5332-5336. Author URL

Lummaa, V., Pettay, J.E., Russell, A.F. (2007). Male twins reduce fitness of female co-twins in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 104, 10915-10920. 

Thornton, A., McAuliffe, K. (2006). Teaching in wild meerkats. Science, 313(5784), 227-229. Author URL

Lahdenperä, M., Lummaa, V., Tremblay, M., Helle, S., Russell, A.F. (2004). Fitness benefits of prolonged post-reproductive lifespan in women. Nature, 428, 178-181.