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Dr Rebecca Sear
Department of Anthropology
- Human evolutionary ecology, evolutionary demography
Rebecca's research interests lie in evolutionary demography, mainly focused in two areas: investigating the impact of kin on reproductive outcomes and examining interactions between health and reproduction. Most research so far has been based in sub-Saharan Africa, but she is becoming increasingly interested in comparative work, testing the same hypotheses in a variety of ecological settings to establish their ecological variability.
Her background is interdisciplinary: after an education in Zoology (BSc, Nottingham University), Statistics (Diploma, University College London) and Biological Anthropology (MSc and PhD, Unversity College London), she taught demography at the London School of Economics for 8 years before taking up her current post as Reader in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University.
Vice-President of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association
- R. Sear (2011). Parenting and families. In Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction. Viren Swami Wiley-Blackwell. 215-250.
- R. Sear (2010). Height and reproductive success: is bigger always better?. In Homo Novus: A Human Without Illusions. U. Frey, C. Störmer & K. Willführ Springer. 127-143.
- R. Sear & R. Mace (2009). Family matters: kin, demography and child health in a rural Gambian population. In Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspectives on Alloparenting in Human Societies. G.R. Bentley & R. Mace Oxford: Berghahn Books. 50-76.
- R. Mace, N. Allal, R. Sear & A. Prentice (2006). The uptake of modern contraception in a Gambian community: the diffusion of an innovation over 25 years. In Social Information Transmission and Human Biology. J.C.K. Wells, S.S. Strickland & K.N. Laland Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 191-205.
- R. Mace & R. Sear (2005). Are humans cooperative breeders?. In Grandmotherhood: the Evolutionary Significance of the Second Half of Female Life. E. Voland, A. Chasiotis & W. Schiefenhövel Piscataway, N.J: Rutgers University Press. 143-159.
- R. Sear, R. Mace & I.A. McGregor (2003). A life-history approach to fertility rates in rural Gambia: evidence for trade-offs or phenotypic correlations?. In The Biodemography of Human Reproduction and Fertility. J.L. Rodgers & H.P. Kohler Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 135-160.
Journal papers: academic
- G. Brown, T. E. Dickins, R. Sear & K. N. Laland (2011). Evolutionary accounts of human behavioural diversity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences 366(1563): 313-324.
- R. Sear & D.A. Coall (2011). How much does family matter? Cooperative breeding and the demographic transition. Population and Development Review 37(Supplement s1): 81-112.
- M.A. Gibson & R. Sear (2010). Does wealth increase parental investment biases in child education ? evidence from two African populations on the cusp of the fertility transition. Current Anthropology 51(5): 693-701.
- M. Gurven, M. Borgerhoff Mulder, Paul L. Hooper, H. Kaplan, R. Quinlan, R. Sear, E. Schniter, C. von Rueden, S. Bowles, T. Hertz & A. Bell (2010). Domestication alone does not lead to inequality: intergenerational wealth transmission among horticulturalists. Current Anthropology 51(1): 49-64.
- M. Fox, R. Sear, J. Beise, G. Ragsdale, E. Voland & L.A. Knapp (2010). Grandma plays favourites: X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 277(1681): 567-573.
- R. Sear & F.W. Marlowe (2009). How universal are human mate choices? Size does not matter when Hadza foragers are choosing a mate. Biology Letters 5(5): 606-609.
- M. Borgerhoff Mulder, S. Bowles, T. Hertz, A. Bell, J. Beise, G. Clark, I. Fazzio, M. Gurven, K. Hill, P.L. Hooper, W. Irons, H. Kaplan, D. Leonetti, B. Low, F. Marlowe, R. McElreath, S. Naidu, D. Nolin, P. Piraino, R. Quinlan, E. Schniter, R. Sear, M. Shenk, E.A. Smith, C. von Rueden & P. Wiessner (2009). Intergenerational wealth transmission and the dynamics of inequality in small-scale societies. Science 326(5953): 682-688.
- R. Sear (2008). Kin and child survival in rural Malawi -Are matrilineal kin always beneficial in a matrilineal society?. Human Nature-an Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective 19(3): 277-293.
- P. Mathews & R. Sear (2008). Life after death: An investigation into how mortality perceptions influence fertility preferences using evidence from an internet-based experiment. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 6(3): 155-172.
- R. Sear & R. Mace (2008). Who keeps children alive? A review of the effects of kin on child survival. Evolution and Human Behavior 29(1): 1-18.
- T.E. Dickins, R. Sear & A.J. Wells (2007). Mind the gap(s).in theory, method and data: Re-examining Kanazawa. British Journal of Health Psychology 12(2): 167-178.
- R. Sear, D.W. Lawson & T.E. Dickins (2007). Synthesis in the human evolutionary behavioural sciences. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 5(1-4): 3-28.
- D.P. Shanley, R. Sear, R. Mace & T.B.L. Kirkwood (2007). Testing evolutionary theories of menopause. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274(1628): 2943-2949
- R. Sear (2007). The impact of reproduction on Gambian women: does controlling for phenotypic quality reveal costs of reproduction?. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(4): 632-641.
- R. Sear (2006). Height and reproductive success: how a Gambian population compares to the West. Human Nature 17(4): 405-418.
- R. Sear (2006). Size-dependent reproductive success in Gambian men: does height or weight matter more?. Biodemography and Social Biology 53(3-4): 172-188.
- N. Allal, R. Sear, A.M. Prentice & R. Mace (2004). An evolutionary model of stature, age at first birth and reproductive success in Gambian women. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 271(1538): 465-470.
- R. Sear, N. Allal & R. Mace (2004). Height, marriage and reproductive success in Gambian women. Research in Economic Anthropology 23: 203-224.
- C.J. Holden, R. Sear & R. Mace (2003). Matriliny as daughter-biased investment. Evolution and Human Behavior 24(2): 99-112.
- R. Sear, R. Mace & I.A. McGregor (2003). The effects of kin on female fertility in rural Gambia. Evolution and Human Behavior 24(1): 25-42.
- R. Sear, F. Steele, I.A. McGregor & R. Mace (2002). The effects of kin on child mortality in rural Gambia. Demography 39(1): 43-63.
- R. Sear, D. Shanley, I.A. McGregor & R. Mace (2001). The fitness of twin mothers: evidence from rural Gambia. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 14(3): 433-443.
- R. Sear, R. Mace & I.A. McGregor (2000). Maternal grandmothers improve the nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 267(1453): 1641-1647.
- R. Mace & R. Sear (1997). Reproductive decisions by Gabbra pastoralists in the face of demographic risks. Nomadic Peoples 1(1): 151-163.
- R. Mace & R. Sear (1997). The birth interval and the sex of children in a traditional African population: an evolutionary analysis. Journal of Biosocial Science 29(4): 499-507.
- R. Mace & R. Sear (1996). Maternal mortality in a Kenyan pastoralist population. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 54(2): 137-141.
- 2010: European Research Council Starting Grant