The Lala Lab

In the Lala Lab, we study evolution and animal behaviour. We focus on three main areas:

1. animal social learning, innovation and intelligence
2. niche construction, inclusive inheritance, phenotypic plasticity and the extended evolutionary synthesis
3. human evolution, particularly the evolution of cognition

Our work is highly interdisciplinary, lying on the interface of evolutionary biology, animal behaviour, ecology and psychology, and combines a wide variety of empirical and theoretical approaches.

We are part of an international collaborative project entitled, Putting the extended evolutionary synthesis to the test led by Kevin Lala and Tobias Uller (Lund University, Sweden). Visit the extended evolutionary synthesis website to learn more.

research model systems

Latest news

Kevin has changed his surname to Lala.

Select publications

Understanding Human Cognitive Uniqueness
Laland KN & Seed A
Annual Reviews, 2021 doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-062220-051256

Racism in academia, and why the ‘little things’ matter
Laland KN
Nature, 2020 doi:10.1038/d41586-020-02471-6

Social learning strategies regulate the wisdom and madness of interactive crowds [pdf]
Toyokawa W, Whalen A & Laland KN
Nat Hum Behav, 2019 doi: 10.1038/s41562-018-0518-x

Innovation and cumulative culture through tweaks and leaps in online programming contests [pdf]
Miu E, Gulley N, Laland KN & Rendell L
Nature Communications, 2018 doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04494-0

The extension of biology through culture [pdf]
Whiten A, Ayala FJ, Feldman MW & Laland KN
Proc Natl Acad Sci, 2017 doi:10.1073/pnas.1707630114

Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates [pdf]
Street SE, Navarrete AF, Reader SM & Laland KN
Proc Natl Acad Sci, 2017 doi:10.1073/pnas.1620734114

Fish pool their experience to solve problems collectively [pdf]
Webster MM, Whalen ACZ & Laland KN
Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2017 1:135

Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making, teaching and language [pdf]
Morgan TJH, Uomini NT, Rendell LE, Chouinard-Thuly L, Street SE, Lewis HM, Cross CP, Evans C, Kearney R, de la Torre I, Whiten A & Laland KN
Nature Communications, 2015 6:6029

The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions and predictions [pdf]
Laland KN, Uller T, Feldman MW, Sterelny K, Müller GB, Moczek A, Jablonka E & Odling-Smee FJ
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2015 282:20151019

Identification of the social and cognitive processes underlying human cumulative culture [pdf]
Dean LG, Kendal RL, Schapiro SJ, Thierry B & Laland KN
Science, 2012 335:1114-1118

Cause and effect in biology revisited: Is Mayr’s proximate-ultimate dichotomy still useful? [pdf]
Laland KN, Sterelny K, Odling-Smee FJ, Hoppitt W & Uller T
Science, 2011 334:1512-1516

Why copy others? Insights from the Social Learning Strategies Tournament [pdf]
Rendell L, Boyd R, Cownden D, Enquist M, Eriksson K, Feldman MW, Fogarty L, Ghirlanda S, Lillicrap T & Laland KN
Science, 2010 328:208-213