Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 1197–1211

Meta-analysis and animal social behaviour

  • Bonaventura Majolo
  • Filippo Aureli
  • Gabriele Schino
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10682-012-9559-1

Cite this article as:
Majolo, B., Aureli, F. & Schino, G. Evol Ecol (2012) 26: 1197. doi:10.1007/s10682-012-9559-1


Meta-analytical techniques are increasingly used in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology. Here we review the studies that have used meta-analysis to address debated issues in animal social behaviour. This literature can be grouped into six research themes: socio-ecology, communication, cooperation, dominance, sexual behaviour, and parental care. We discuss the major findings of these studies and the benefits that meta-analytical techniques brought to the study of animal social behaviour. For example, meta-analytical techniques have proved crucial in the analysis of the factors affecting grooming reciprocity in primates, in testing the role of kin selection in the evolution of cooperative breeding, and in assessing the fitness benefits of dominance in a range of animal species. Less than 40 papers have used meta-analysis to address topics in animal social behaviour, suggesting that the potential of meta-analysis has not yet been fully exploited.


Cooperation Dominance Mating system Meta-analysis Social behaviour 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonaventura Majolo
    • 1
  • Filippo Aureli
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gabriele Schino
    • 4
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.Instituto de NeuroetologiaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  3. 3.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and PsychologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  4. 4.Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della CognizioneConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly

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