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Prof Robert A. Barton, BSc, M.Sc, PhD
Department of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
- Cognitive evolution and the brain
- Evolutionary architecture of reproduction in female mammals
- The co-evolution of sleep, brain and behaviour
- Behavioural ecology and sociobiology
- Comparative studies of brain size and structure in relation to behavioural ecology
- Evolution of mamalian reproductive traits
- Primate evolution and behaviour
I am interested in brain evolution and evolutionary neuroscience, cognition, human and primate behaviour, sexual selection, the evolution of reproductive strategies, and the evolution of sleep patterns. I developed and tested the 'Visual brain hypothesis' for primate brain size evolution, and have recently become interested in the underestimated role of the cerebellum in brain evolution and cognition. I am currently writing a book on 'Cognitive Evolution and the brain' (Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, 2012-13).
Recent projects include 'The Phylogeny of Sleep' (funded by NIH) and 'Evolutionary architecture of reproduction in female mammals' funded by BBSRC/NERC), both involving Dr Isabella Capellini (now at Hull University) as well as collaborators at Harvard University and Boston University.
Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology (2005-)
President, European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (2010-)
Leverhulme Research Fellow (2012-13) - Cognitive evolution and the brain
Visting Research Fellow, All Souls Collge Oxford (2011) - Evolution of human cognition
- Charlie Nunn, Harvard University - phylogenetic comparative studies
- Patrck McNamara, Boston University - evolution of sleep
- 1: Barton, Robert A. (2012). Embodied cognitive evolution and the cerebellum. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367(1599): 2097-2107.
- 2: Stephen, ID. Oldham, FH., Perrett, DI. & Barton, RA. (2012). Redness Enhances Perceived Aggression, Dominance and Attractiveness in Men’s Faces. Evolutionary Psychology 10(3): 562-572.
- 3: Dickins, T. & Barton, RA. (2012). Reciprocal causation and the proximate-ultimate distinction. Biology & Philosophy
- 4: Barton, R. A. & Capellini, I. (2011). Maternal investment, life histories and the costs of brain growth in mammals. PNAS 108(15): 6169-6174.
- 5: Capellini, Isabella., Venditti, Chris. & Barton, R.A. (2011). Placentation and maternal investment in mammals. American Naturalist 177(1): 86-98.
- 6: Capellini, I., Venditti, C. & Barton, R.A. (2010). Phylogeny and metabolic scaling in mammals. Ecology 91(9): 2783–2793.
- 7: Montgomery, Stephen., Capellini, Isabella., Venditti, Chris., Barton, Robert. & Mundy, Nick. (2010). Adaptive Evolution of Four Microcephaly Genes and the Evolution of Brain Size in Anthropoid Primates. Molecular Biology and Evolution 28(1): 625-638.
- 8: Montgomery, S.H. Capellini, I. , Barton, R.A. & Mundy, N.I. (2010). Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis. BMC Biology 8(9).
- 9: Preston, Brian, T., Capellini, Isabella., McNamara, Patrick., Barton, Robert A. & Nunn, Charles, L. (2009). Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9(7).
- 10: Capellini, I., McNamara, P., Preston, B., Barton, R.A. & Nunn, C.L. (2009). Ecological constraints on mammalian sleep architecture. In Evolution of sleep. McNamara, P., Barton, R.A. & Nunn, C.L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 12-34.
- 10: Lemaître, J-F., Ramm, SA., Barton, R.A. & Stockley, P. (2009). Sperm competition and brain size evolution in mammals. Journal of Evolutionary Biology
- 11: Willems, E.P., Barton, R.A. & Hill, R.A. (2009). Remotely sensed productivity, regional home range selection, and local range use by an omnivorous primate. Behavioral Ecology 20: 985-992.
- 13: McNamara, Patrick., Barton, Robert A. & Nunn, Charles L. (2009). Evolution of Sleep: Phylogenetic and Functional Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- 13: Capellini, I., McNamara, P., Preston, B., Nunn, C.L. & Barton, R.A. (2009). Does sleep play a role in memory consolidation? A comparative test. PLoS One 4(2): e4609.
- 14: Swann, J., Fabre-Nys, C. & Barton, R.A. (2009). Hormonal and pheromonal modulation of the extended amygdala: implications for social behaviour. In Hormones, Brain and Behavior. Pfaff, D.W., Arnold, A.P., Etgen, A.M., Fahrbach, S.E. & Rubin, R.T. New York: Academic Press. 1.
- 14: McNamara, P., Barton, R.A. & Nunn, C.L. (2009). Introduction. In Evolution of sleep. McNamara, P., Barton, R.A. & Nunn, C.L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- 15: Nunn, C.L., McNamara, P., Capellini, I., Preston, B.T. & Barton, R.A. (2009). Primate sleep in phylogenetic perspective. In Evolution of sleep. McNamara, P., Barton, R.A. & Nunn, C.L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- 16: Capellini, I., Nunn, C.L., McNamara, P., Preston, B.T. & Barton, R.A (2008). Energetic constraints, not predation, influence the evolution of sleep patterning in mammals. Functional ecology 22(5): 847-853.
- 17: Capellini, I., Barton, R.A., McNamara, P., Preston, B.T. & Nunn, C.L. (2008). Phylogenetic analysis of the ecology and evolution of mammalian Sleep. Evolution 62(7): 1764-1776.
- 18: Atrill, M., Gresty, K., Hill R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2008). Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football. Journal of Sports Sciences 26(6): 577-582.
- 19: Barton, R.A. (2008). Brain Modules: Mosaic Evolution. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Squire, L. Oxford: Academic Press. 2: 389-394.
- 20: McNamara, P., Capellini I., Harris, E., Nunn, C.L.,, Barton, R.A. & Preston, B. (2008). The Phylogeny of Sleep Database: A New Resource for Sleep Scientists. The Open Sleep Journal 1: 11-14.
- 21: Lindenfors, P., Nunn, C.L. & Barton, R.A. (2007). Primate brain architecture and selection in relation to sex. BMC Biology 5(20).
- 22: McNamara, P., Nunn, C., Barton, R., Harris, E. & Capellini, I. (2007). 'Phylogeny of sleep and dreams. In The New Science of Dreaming. Barrett, D. & McNamara, P. Wesport, Connecticut.: Praeger. I: 53-70.
- 23: Barton, R.A. (2007). Evolution of the social brain as a distributed neural system. In Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Dunbar, R.I.M. & Barrett, L.E. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 129-144.
- 24: Barton, Robert. (2007). Evolutionary specialization of mammalian cortical structure. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20(4): 1504-1511.
- 25: Lewis, K. & Barton, R.A. (2006). Amygdala size and hypothalamus size predict social play frequency in non-human primates: a comparative analysis using independent contrasts. Journal of Comparative Psychology
- 26: Barton, R.A. (2006). Mosaic evolution of brain structure in mammals. In Evolution of nervous systems. U.K.: Elsevier.
- 27: Barton, R.A. (2006). Olfactory evolution and behavioral ecology in primates. American Journal of Primatology 68: 545-558.
- 28: Barton, R.A. (2006). Primate brain evolution: integrating comparative, neurophysiological and ethological data. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 15(6): 224-236.
- 29: Hill, R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2005). Red enhances human performance in contests. Nature 435(7040): 293.
- 30: Barton, R.A. (2005). Neuroscientists need to be evolutionarily challenged. Behavioral & Brain Sciences
- 30: Barton, R.A. & Hill, R.A. (2005). Seeing red? Reply to Rowe et al. Nature 437: E10-E11.
- 31: Barton, R.A. (2004). Binocularity and brain evolution in primates. Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101(27): 10113-10115.
- 32: Nunn, C.L., Altizer, S., Sechrest, W., Jones, K., Barton, R.A. & Gittleman, J. (2004). Parasite Pressure and Evolutionary Diversification in Primates. American Naturalist 162: 597-614.
- 33: Barton, R.A., Aggleton J. & Grenyer, R. (2003). Evolutionary coherence of the mammalian amygdala. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 270(1514): 539-543.
- 34: Lewis, K. & Barton, R.A. (2003). Playing for keeps: evolutionary relationships between social play and the cerebellum in non-human primates. Human Nature 15: 5-21.
- 35: Whiting, B. & Barton R.A. (2003). The evolution of the cortico-cerebellar complex in primates: anatomical connections predict patterns of correlated evolution. Journal of Human Evolution 44(1): 3-10.
- 36: Barton, R.A. (2002). How did brains evolve? Nature 415: 134-135.
- 37: Deaner, R., Barton, R.A. & van Schaik, C.P. (2002). Primate brains and life histories. In The evolution of primate life histories. Kappeler, P. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 233-265.
- 38: Nunn, CL & Barton, RA (2001). Comparative methods for studying primate adaptation. Evolutionary Anthropology 10: 81-98.
- 39: Arnold, K. & Barton, R.A. (2001). Post-conflict behaviour of spectacled leaf monkeys (Trachypithecus obscurus) I: Reconciliation. International Journal of Primatology 22: 243-266.
- 40: Arnold, K & Barton, R.A. (2001). Post-conflict behaviour of spectacled leaf monkeys (Trachypithecus obscurus) II: involvement of third parties. International Journal of Primatology 22: 267-286.
- 41: Barton, R.A. (2001). The coordinated structure of mosaic brain evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 282-282.
- 42: Nunn CL & Barton R (2000). Allometric Slopes and Independent Contrasts: A Comparative Test of Kleiber's Law in Primate Ranging Patterns. The American Naturalist 156: 519-533.
- 44: Barton, R.A. & Harvey, P.H. (2000). Mosaic Evolution of brain structure in mammals. Nature 405: 1055-1058.
- 45: Barton, R.A. & Aggleton, J. (2000). Primate evolution and the amygdala. In The amygdala: a functional analysis. Aggleton, J. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 480-508.
- 46: Barton, R.A. (2000). Socioecology of baboons: the interaction of male and female strategies. In Primate males. Kappeler, P. Cambridge: ambridge University Press. 167-203.
- 47: R.A. Barton (1999). The evolutionary ecology of the primate brain. In Comparative Primate Socioecology. P Lee Cambridge University Press. 167-203.
- 48: R.A. Barton (1998). Visual specialisation and brain evolution in primates. Proceedings of the Royal Society (Biological Sciences) 265: 1933-1937.
- Barton, R.A. & Venditti, C. (2013). Human frontal lobes are not relatively large. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- 2012: Cognitive Evolution and the Brain (£39013.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
- 2008: EVOLUTIONARY ARCHITECTURE (£249647.07 from Bbsrc)
- 2006: RCUK FELLOWSHIP (£125000.00 from Epsrc)
- 2006: RCUK FELLOWSHIP (£125000.00 from Epsrc)
- 2005: PHYLOGENY OF SLEEP (£128138.22 from National Institutes of Health)
Indicators of Esteem
- 2012: Leverhulme Research Fellow:
To work on 'Cognitive evolution and the brain' (Princeton University Press)
This book will develop a distinctive synthesis of evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive ethology. It will draw on recent developments in these fields, including my own research on brain evolution, carried out over the last eighteen years and published in leading science journals such as Nature, PNAS and Proceedings of the Royal Society. This research is distinctive in applying powerful phylogenetic comparative methods for studying evolutionary patterns and processes to questions about the brain. It has begun to shed light on the selection pressures and structural changes associated with evolutionary increases in brain size, the genetic and developmental basis of these changes, and their cognitive implications. Recent methodological developments enable us to ask new questions of these data. For example we can now model variable rates of trait evolution on the branches of a phylogenetic tree, correlate the rates for both phenotypic and genetic traits, and examine deviations from general trends along specific branches (such as the branch leading to Homo sapiens). This research is leading to some surprising findings and challenging some of our most cherished assumptions about what changed, when and how fast during human evolution.
- 2011: Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford: Participant in multi-national project on 'Evolution of human cognition'
- 2010: President, European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association:
- 2009: Darwin's Birthday Party (Natural History Museum): invited speaker:
Available for media contact about:
- Human biology and development: animal behaviour
- Human biology and development: evolutionary theory
- Human biology and development: the brain
- People: Evolution and Biology: animal behaviour
- People: Evolution and Biology: evolutionary theory
- People: Evolution and Biology: the brain