Luke Rendell

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T he brain of a sperm whale is about 60% larger in absolute mass than that of an elephant. Furthermore, the brains of toothed whales and dolphins are signifi cantly larger than those of any nonhuman primates and are second only to human brains when measured with respect to body size [1]. How and why did such large brains evolve in these modern cetaceans?(More)
We used network-based diffusion analysis to reveal the cultural spread of a naturally occurring foraging innovation, lobtail feeding, through a population of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) over a period of 27 years. Support for models with a social transmission component was 6 to 23 orders of magnitude greater than for models without. The spatial(More)
We explore the evolution of reliance on social and asocial learning using a spatially explicit stochastic model. Our analysis considers the relative merits of four evolved strategies, two pure strategies (asocial and social learning) and two conditional strategies (the "critical social learner," which learns asocially only when copying fails, and the(More)
Many species are known to acquire valuable life skills and information from others, but until recently it was widely believed that animals did not actively facilitate learning in others. Teaching was regarded as a uniquely human faculty. However, recent studies suggest that teaching might be more common in animals than previously thought. Teaching is(More)
Cultural niche construction is a uniquely potent source of selection on human populations, and a major cause of recent human evolution. Previous theoretical analyses have not, however, explored the local effects of cultural niche construction. Here, we use spatially explicit coevolutionary models to investigate how cultural processes could drive selection(More)
We can examine the evolution of multilevel societies using comparative studies. Intraspecific comparisons are valuable because confounding factors are reduced. Female sperm whales live in multilevel societies. However, studies at several locations have found substantial and consistent differences in social structure between the eastern Pacific and North(More)
Sperm whale social groups can be assigned to vocal clans based on their production of codas, short stereotyped patterns of clicks. It is currently unclear whether genetic variation could account for these behavioural differences. We studied mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation among sympatric vocal clans in the Pacific Ocean, using sequences extracted from(More)
Sperm whale clicks are characterized by a multi-pulsed structure. The time lag between consecutive pulses, i.e., the inter-pulse interval (IPI), is related to the size of the sound production organ such that its measurement provides a means to acoustically estimate the size of individual whales. Due to off-axis effects the identification of pulses is,(More)
In a recent publication in Biological Reviews, Manger (2006) made the controversial claim that the large brains of cetaceans evolved to generate heat during oceanic cooling in the Oligocene epoch and not, as is the currently accepted view, as a basis for an increase in cognitive or information-processing capabilities in response to ecological or social(More)
This article focusses on the importance of space in mathematical models of cultural evolution, cooperation, niche construction and social learning. We discuss the benefits of including spacial effects in these evolutionary models and illustrate how the inclusion of space has changed accepted and long-standing results. We also briefly discuss the spatial(More)