My main research explores the factors and the historical beginnings of enabling cumulative culture – i.e. culture that evolves over time by way of treating earlier cultural items as stepping stones for later ones.
I do this by studying non-human animals (mainly great apes), human adults and human children with a diverse set of methodological approaches, combining insights from developmental psychology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary archaeology, behavioural ecology and biological anthropology.
Through broadening the scope of species examined, extending my findings into our evolutionary past and by developing research paradigms that can be applied non-linguistically, I aim to probe the origins of cumulative culture in human ontogeny and phylogeny, as well as the distribution of cumulative culture across the animal kingdom.
Other topics I study include potential physiological reasons for chimpanzee hunting behaviour and the evolution of human cooperation (especially of reputation-based cooperation).
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