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Human Behaviour and Cultural Evolution

Our sub-group investigate human behaviour from the perspective of modern evolutionary theory, as well as the evolution of cognition, social information use and the cultural transmission of information in non-human animals. 

Behavioural Ecology

The Behavioural Ecology theme at our Penryn Campus is one of the largest groupings of behavioural ecologists in the world. We focus on understanding social, sexual and competitive behaviour, studying how this behaviour evolved and its ecological context.

Research is both empirical and theoretical, utilising recent molecular and biochemical techniques, experimental evolution studies in the lab and long-term field studies as well as mathematical modelling and statistics. We work on a wide range of species including insects, amphibians, birds and mammals, and run field research projects across the globe.

Key areas of research include:

  • Social behaviour - when and why do animals (and genes) cooperate rather than compete, and how do organisms learn from each other?
  • Cultural evolution - how and why do humans cooperate?
  • The genetics of behaviour
  • Sensory ecology - how animal colouration and display link with visual and auditory processing (including warning signals, mimicry, and camouflage)

Specialists in Behavioural Ecology: