Colloquium Series Talk: Dr. Kaia Tombak

When and Where

Friday, March 08, 2024 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Anthropology Building
19 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S2


Dr. Kaia Tombak


The Department invites faculty, postdocs, staff and students to the upcoming Colloquium Series Talk on March 8th, from 2pm to 4pm in AP246 with Dr. Kaia Tombak from Purdue University. 

"Cracking the code of conduct: understanding the manyselection forces driving social behaviour and examiningsome long-held assumptions in evolutionary biology"

The striking diversity in animal societies – from pair- to group-living, from egalitarian to hierarchical, from monogamous to polygamous – has captivated naturalists for centuries. Still, fundamental questions like ‘what determines group size?’ and ‘what structures relationships in a group?’ remain largely unanswered. The multiple selection forces acting on the scale and structure of a society must be studied together to understand social diversity, and this is what I aim to do, with a focus on mammals. I will describe my work on how egalitarianism is maintained in female red colobus monkeys and on how group size responds to four key selection forces in zebras. I will then detail my comparative literature-based studies on intra- and intersexual relationships and sexual size dimorphism, probing how sexual selection operates in mammals. Throughout, I have discovered that strong assumptions in animal behavior research have not been supported by the data, opening up new questions and points of emphasis in how we explore the fundamental rules governing animal societies.

Register for the zoom portion: 

Contact Information


19 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S2