Current Research Postgraduates
Mr David Clinnick
(email at email@example.com)
The Evolution of Complex Social Behavior
My PhD research looks at the evolution of complex social behaviors within a fission-fusion studies framework. Recent studies have demonstrated an archaic hominin contribution directly to the genetic makeup of extant, extra African populations (Green et al. 2010; Reich et al. 2010). Others have undermined long held assumptions about behavioral (Henry et al. 2011) and life-history (Trinkaus 2011) differences between archaic and anatomically modern hominins.
These findings problematize the established Out-of-Africa models that place the origins of modern behavior and extant populations in either the Middle Stone Age or Late Stone Age of Africa. Alternative models that have been put forth do little more than act as apologies for the modernity of archaic, namely Neanderthal, material culture. The lack of fitness between currently accepted evolutionary models and empirical evidence produces a convoluted and inconsistent narrative of human evolution. All together, the material record begs for a more parsimonious solution. A socio-ecological approach based on fission-fusion dynamics can provide robust test hypotheses, elucidating the evolution of modern social complexity.
My project aims to provide just such an integrated model. A sociological analysis informed by fission-fusion studies of hunter-gatherer social structure will be utilized to construct robust hypotheses to test for the emergence of modern social processes in the material record.
Is supervised by
- Prehistory of Eurasia Research Group