Selected recent publications

Cultural evolution / social learning

Mesoudi, A. & Thornton, A. (2018) What is cumulative cultural evolution? Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20180712.


Turchin, P., Currie, T. E., Whitehouse, H., François, P., Feeney, K., Mullins, D., ... & Mendel-Gleason, G. (2018). Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(2), E144-E151.


Mesoudi, A. (2017). Pursuing Darwin’s curious parallel: Prospects for a science of cultural evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(30), 7853-7860.


Mesoudi, A., Chang, L., Dall, S. R., & Thornton, A. (2016). The evolution of individual and cultural variation in social learning. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 31(3), 215-225.
Savage, P. E., Brown, S., Sakai, E., & Currie, T. E. (2015). Statistical universals reveal the structures and functions of human music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(29), 8987-8992.
Zwirner, E., & Thornton, A. (2015). Cognitive requirements of cumulative culture: teaching is useful but not essential. Scientific Reports, 5.
Mesoudi, A., Chang, L., Murray, K., & Lu, H. J. (2015). Higher frequency of social learning in China than in the West shows cultural variation in the dynamics of cultural evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 282(1798), 20142209.
Lamba, S. (2014). Social learning in cooperative dilemmas. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 281(1787), 20140417.
Turchin, P., Currie, T. E., Turner, E. A., & Gavrilets, S. (2013). War, space, and the evolution of Old World complex societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(41), 16384-16389.
Lamba, S., & Mace, R. (2011). Demography and ecology drive variation in cooperation across human populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(35), 14426-14430.

Comparative cognition / animal behaviour

Ashton, B. J., Ridley, A. R., Edwards, E. K., & Thornton, A. (2018). Cognitive performance is linked to group size and affects fitness in Australian magpies. Nature 554, 364–367.
Croft, D. P., Johnstone, R. A., Ellis, S., Nattrass, S., Franks, D. W., Brent, L. J., ... & Cant, M. A. (2017). Reproductive conflict and the evolution of menopause in killer whales. Current Biology, 27(2), 298-304.
Greggor, A.L., Thornton, A. & Clayton, N.S. (2017). Harnessing learning biases is essential for applying social learning in conservation. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 71, 16
Greggor, A. L., McIvor, G. E., Clayton, N. S., & Thornton, A. (2016). Contagious risk taking: social information and context influence wild jackdaws’ responses to novelty and risk. Scientific Reports 6, 27764.
Thornton, A., McAuliffe, K., Dall, S.R.X., Fernandez-Duque, F., Garber, P.A. & Young, A.J. (2016) Fundamental problems with the Cooperative Breeding Hypothesis. A reply to Burkart & Van Schaik. Journal of Zoology 229, 84–88
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, 518(7540), 538-541.
Thornton, A. & Clutton-Brock, T. (2011). Social learning and the development of individual and group behaviour in mammal societies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366, 978-987.
Thornton, A., Samson, J., & Clutton-Brock, T. (2010). Multi-generational persistence of traditions in neighbouring meerkat groups. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, rspb20100611.

Human life histories

Bürkli, A., & Postma, E. (2014). Genetic constraints underlying human reproductive timing in a premodern Swiss village. Evolution, 68(2), 526-537.
Gillespie, D. O., 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(7), 1964-1974.
Postma, E., Martini, L., & Martini, P. (2010). Inbred women in a small and isolated Swiss village have fewer children. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23(7), 1468-1474.

Primate behaviour and conservation

Hockings, K.J., Bryson-Morrison, N., Carvalho, S., Fujisawa, M., Humle, T., McGrew, W.C., Nakamura, M., Ohashi, G., Yamanashi, Y., Yamakoshi, G. and Matsuzawa, T., (2015). Tools to tipple: ethanol ingestion by wild chimpanzees using leaf-sponges. Royal Society Open Science, 2(6), p.150150.
Hockings, K.J., McLennan, M.R., Carvalho, S., Ancrenaz, M., Bobe, R., Byrne, R.W., Dunbar, R.I., Matsuzawa, T., McGrew, W.C., Williamson, E.A. and Wilson, M.L., (2015). Apes in the Anthropocene: flexibility and survival. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 30(4), pp.215-222.

Nongenetic inheritance

McNamara, J. M., Dall, S. R., Hammerstein, P., & Leimar, O. (2016). Detection vs. selection: integration of genetic, epigenetic and environmental cues in fluctuating environments. Ecology letters, 19(10), 1267-1276.
Kuijper, B., & Hoyle, R. B. (2015). When to rely on maternal effects and when on phenotypic plasticity?. Evolution, 69(4), 950-968.
Danchin, É., Charmantier, A., Champagne, F. A., Mesoudi, A., Pujol, B., & Blanchet, S. (2011). Beyond DNA: integrating inclusive inheritance into an extended theory of evolution. Nature Reviews Genetics, 12(7), 475-486.