Published findings to date include:


Young, A.J., Jarvis, J.U.M., Barnaville, J., Bennett, N.C. (2015)

Workforce effects and the evolution of complex sociality in wild Damaraland mole-rat societies

American Naturalist


Young, A.J., Bennett, N.C. (2013)

Intra-sexual selection in cooperative mammals and birds: why aren’t females bigger and better armed?

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences


Lutermann H., Young A.J., Bennett N.C. (2013)
Reproductive status and testosterone among females in cooperative mole-rat societies

General and Comparative Endocrinology 187: 60-65


Young A.J., & Bennett N.C. (2010)
Morphological divergence of breeders and helpers in wild Damaraland mole-rat societies

Evolution 64: 3190-3197


Young A.J., Oosthuizen M.K., Lutermann H. & Bennett N.C. (2010)

Physiological suppression eases in Damaraland mole-rat societies when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed
Hormones & Behavior 57: 177-183

The resulting longitudinal life-history, morphometric and endocrine data are now allowing us to address a range of questions about dispersal tactics, fitness benefits of helping, physiological suppression among subordinates, and morphological specialisation. We are also using microsatellite genotyping to investigate the distribution of paternity and the extent to which their hyper-variable body patterns convey relatedness. The field site remains accessible for future projects and research enquiries are welcome. Our work has been funded by ASAB and the South African NRF.

I established a longitudinal field study of Damaraland mole-rats in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in 2004, in collaboration with Nigel Bennett (Pretoria). The project monitored the fates of 40 focal groups, ranging in size from 2-25 animals, over the course of the subsequent three years. The groups were each trapped once or twice a year. All group members were then marked, measured and photographed, and small hormonal and genetic samples were taken, before they were returned together to their subterranean burrow systems.

Damaraland mole-rats

Damaraland mole-rats show an extreme form of sociality, similar to that of some social insects.
Much of our understanding of mole-rat societies stems from work in the laboratory. A key focus of my research has been studying cooperation and conflict in wild populations

We also conduct research on an array of social mammals,
from singular & plural cooperative breeders to communal breeders: