A SOCIAL ANIMAL RESEARCH PROJECT BASED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

 

Homo sit naturaliter animal socialis – Man is by nature a social animal” (Seneca)  

We are a team of researchers who study social behaviour in wild animals. We try to understand why animals cooperate or compete with each other, and how different types of animal society evolved. Our main research organisms are:

mongoose

Banded mongooses are the rougher, tougher cousins of the meerkat, and have fascinating social lives.

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wasp

Paper wasps form small cooperative teams composed of both kin and non-kin, who together share the tasks of building a nest and rearing offspring.

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whale

Killer whales live together in close-knit family groups and have extraordinary social lives.

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humans

Understanding human life history and behaviour presents unique challenges.

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MEET THE MONGOOSES

 

Banded mongooses are the rougher, tougher cousins of the meerkat, and have fascinating social lives.  Watch the video to learn more about our research on these extraordinary animals.

MEET THE PAPER WASPS

 

Paper wasps form small, hierarchical societies which are ideal to study the evolution of cooperation and conflict. Watch the video to find out more about our research at our Spanish study site.

Not for transmission or publication without express permission of the copyright owner, Simon Burt
Mike Cant

ABOUT OUR RESEARCH

 

“Social evolution is one of the most exciting topics in biology. How does altruism evolve? How do self-interested individuals resolve conflicts? Why does inequality vary in animal societies? Our research tackles these and other questions, through theory and field research on animals ranging from insects to humans.”

 

The Socialis project is directed by Professor Michael Cant, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Exeter.  He collaborates with teams of specialist biologists based all over the world.

 

Meet The Teams