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Jack Thorley

Jack Thorley

Post-doctoral Research Associate

T12a (T12)
Office Phone: 01223 (3)36682 or 01223 (3)36638

Research Interests

Individuals in cooperatively breeding societies vary largely in the extent to which they help. Heterogeneity in helping effort can be considered as an iterative process of decision-making whereby an individual's decision to help or not is dependent upon their own attributes (state and age), and on the attributes of group members with which they co-reside. My current work is aimed at understanding to what extent helping effort in meerkat societies is heterogenous across individuals, explores the factors contributing to this heterogeneity, and investigates the consequences for group-level processes on which selection might act (reproductive output, persistence, etc). 


  • quantitative behaviour
  • Behaviour Change

Key Publications

Thorley J, Mendonça R, Vullioud P, Torrents-Tico M, Zottl M, Gaynor D, & T Clutton-Brock (2018) No task specialization among helpers in Damaraland mole-rats. Anim. Behav. 143: 9-24.

Thorley J, Katlein N, Goddard K, Zöttl M, & Clutton-Brock T (2018) Reproduction triggers adaptive increases in body size in female mole-rats. Proc. R. Soc. B. 285: 20180897.

Thorley J & Lord AM (2015) Laying date is a plastic and repeatable trait in a  population of Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus. Ardea 103: 69–78. doi:10.5253/arde.v103i1.a7

Other Publications

Zöttl M, Thorley J, Gaynor D, Bennett NC, & Clutton-Brock T (2016) Variation in growth of Damaraland mole-rats is explained by competition rather than by functional specialization for different tasks. Biol. Lett. 12: 20160820. doi:

Thorley J & Clutton-Brock T (2017) Kalahari vulture declines, through the eyes of meerkats. Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology. Ostrich, 88(2): 177-181. doi:10.2989/00306525.2016.1257516