Zarin Machanda, PhD - The Evolutionary Origins of Leadership

Zarin Machanda Presenter
Tufts University
Sunday, Jun 23: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Talairach Lecture 
Room: Hall D 2 
Leadership is crucial for effective collective action, especially when groups become large and complex. Some have argued that human leadership is unique, especially in our high degrees of egalitarianism and group decision-making. Chimpanzees, our closest living relative, are more despotic than humans, but exhibit variation in how dominant individuals maintain social status. Yet little is known about how individuals acquire leadership skills, or how differences in leadership strategies shape collective decision-making. In this lecture, Dr. Machanda will explore leadership in chimpanzees to better understand the evolutionary origins of human leadership.
Dr. Machanda co-directs the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term study of wild chimpanzees living in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Using over three decades of behavioral, physical, and physiological data from this population, Dr. Machanda will discuss the biological mechanisms that correlate with individual differences in leadership in chimpanzees and explore how males and females differ in leadership strategies, how leadership might impact group-level cooperation and leadership styles shapes reproductive success and longevity. Dr. Machanda will also discuss a novel project integrating data on captive and wild chimpanzees to better understand some of the cognitive and decision-making mechanisms that relate to leadership.