University of Exeter


PSY3004 Special Topics in Psychology IV/PSY6006 Advanced Seminars
Evolution of Human Behaviour seminar course

The ecological background: social behaviour of non-primates with ecologies resembling humans (eusocial insects, social carnivores, cetaceans)

Basic reading

Additional material

1. Cetacean social behaviour and social structure

There is considerable overlap between the following sources, but each contributes something distinct.

2. Cognitive processes in cetaceans

3. Eusocial insects

4. Social carnivores

Questions for discussion

  1. What groups of animals most closely resemble humans in (a) ecology and (b) social structure?
  2. Can we learn anything about human behaviour by studying eusocial insects?
  3. Are there clear correlations between social structure, ecology, and cognitive powers within (a) the social carnivores (b) the cetaceans?
  4. Considering any of these groups of animals, how would you argue that it offers the best available animal model of human society?

Stephen Lea

University of Exeter
School of Psychology
Washington Singer Laboratories
Exeter EX4 4QG
United Kingdom
Tel +44 1392 264626
Fax +44 1392 264623

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Document revised 9th March 1999