Deniz Salali

Research Topic

Social structure, cultural transmission and cooperation in Mbendjele (BaYaka) hunter-gatherers


Andrea Migliano
Ruth Mace

Research interests

I study social evolution in humans. Broadly, I'm interested in cultural evolution, life history theory and evolutionary medicine. My current research is about social interaction networks, time preferences and plant uses in hunter-gatherers. For this, I do fieldwork in Congo-Brazzaville living with the Mbendjele BaYaka Pygmies.

Academic Background/Education

MSc in Evolutionary Biology (2012), MEME (Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology)

  • University of British Columbia, Canada (4th semester)
  • University of Montpellier II, France (2nd and 3rd semesters)
  • University of Groningen, Netherlands (1st semester)

BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics (2010), Istanbul Technical University, Turkey


Salali, G.D., Chaudhary N., Thompson J., Grace, O., van der Brugt, X.M., Dyble M., Page A., Smith D., Lewis, J., Mace R., Vinicius L., Migliano A.B. in press. Knowledge sharing networks in hunter-gatherers and the evolution of cumulative culture. Current Biology.

Chaudhary N., Salali G.D., Thompson J., Rey, A., Gerbault, P., Stevenson, E., Dyble M., Page A., Smith D., Mace R., Vinicius L., Migliano, A.B. in press. Competition for Cooperation: variability, benefits and heritability of relational wealth in hunter-gatherers. Scientific Reports.

Dyble M., Thompson J., Page A., Smith D., Chaudhary N., Salali G.D., Vinicius L., Mace R., Migliano A.B. in press. Networks of food sharing reveal the functional significance of multilevel sociality in two hunter-gatherer groups. Current Biology.

Smith, D., Dyble, M., Thompson, J., Major, K., Page, A., Chaudhary, N., Salali, G. D., Vinicius, L., Migliano, A., Mace, R. in press. Camp Stability Predicts Patterns of Hunter-Gatherer Cooperation. Royal Society Open Science.

Page A., Viguier, S., Dyble M., Smith D., Chaudhary N., Salali G.D., Thompson J., Vinicius L., Mace R., Migliano A.B. 2016. Reproductive trade-offs in extant hunter-gatherers suggest adaptive mechanism for the Neolithic expansion. PNAS. 113(17):  4694–4699

Salali, G.D., Migliano A.B. 2015. Future discounting in Congo basin hunter-gatherers declines with socio-economic transitions. PLoS ONE. 10(9): e0137806

Salali, G.D., Whitehouse H., Hochberg, M. E. 2015. A life-cycle model of human social groups produces a U-shaped distribution in group size. PLoS ONE. 10(9): e0138496

Dyble M., Salali G.D., Chaudhary N., Page A., Smith D., Thompson J., Vinicius L., Mace R., Migliano A.B. 2015. Sex equality can explain the unique social structure of hunter-gatherer bands. Science. 348: 796–798.

Chaudhary N., Salali G.D., Thompson J., Dyble M., Page A., Smith D., Mace R., Migliano, A.B. 2015. Polygyny without wealth: popularity in gift games predicts polygyny in BaYaka Pygmies. Royal Society Open Science. 2: 150054.

Salali, G.D., Juda, M., Henrich, J. 2015. Development and imitation of costly punishment in children. Evolution and Human Behaviour. 36(2): 86-94

Tanner, C.J., Salali, G. D. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. The ghost of social environments past: dominance relationships include current interactions and experience carried over from previous groups. Biology Letters. 7: 818-821.

Tanner, C.J., Salalı, G.D. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. Feeding and non-feeding aggression can be induced in invasive shore crabs by altering food distribution. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 65(2): 249-256.

Under Review:

Migliano A.B., Page A., Viguier, S., Dyble M., Gardenes, J.G., Latora, V., Chaudhary N., Thompson J., Salali G.D., Smith D., Strods, J., Vinicius L., Mace R. under review. High-resolution maps of hunter-gatherer social networks reveal human adaptation for cultural exchange. 

Mesman, J., Minter, T., Angnged, A., Cisse, I., Salali, G.D., Migliano, A.B. under review. Universality without uniformity: A culturally inclusive approach to sensitive responsiveness in infant caregiving.


The Leverhulme Trust