Banded mongooses. Photo credit Hazel Nichols

Banded mongooses.

Project Overview

Project name: The evolution of cooperation

 Cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. While a simple reading of natural selection as ‘survival of the fittest’ predicts that individuals will benefit from selfish, competitive behaviour, cooperation is not only commonplace within nature, but is of profound evolutionary and social significance. We aim to understand how cooperative societies function, for example by investigating the situations through which conflicts between society-members arise and how they are resolved.

Our work has often used wild banded mongooses in Uganda, but current research extends to other cooperative species such as meerkats, dwarf mongooses and cichlid fish.