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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Evolutionary Anthropology

Evolutionary Anthropology encompasses the use of evolutionary theory to understand behaviour, ecology, biology, cognition and culture in humans and our primate relatives past and present. We put people in evolutionary context by studying the behaviour, ecology, and anatomy of our primate relatives, the evolution of cognitive skills and culture, the fossil evidence for human evolution, and evolutionary influences on the behaviour of modern humans. By integrating evolutionary and socio-cultural perspectives, we aim to provide a uniquely complete and holistic account of the human species.

World-Class Research

We publish widely and frequently in a range of journals including Nature, Science, PNAS, Journal of Human Evolution and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, as well as single-author and edited books. Durham anthropologists also hold major roles on journal editorial boards and in academic societies: Professor Jo Setchell is Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Primatology and current President of the Primate Society of Great Britain, Professor Sarah Elton is Special Issues Editor of the Journal of Human Evolution and Dr Rachel Kendal is President of the Cultural Evolution Society. We receive funding from a range of sources including the ESRC, BBSRC, NERC, The Royal Society, and The Leverhulme Trust.

Our research staff and students form a thriving intellectual community with regular seminars and journal clubs, including the Primatology group and the PalaeoMorpho group. Members of the Evolutionary Anthropology research group lead the Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture (CCBC), the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Research (BEER) Centre and play active roles in the Wolfson Institute for Health and Wellbeing which provide links to other Departments such as psychology, biology, medicine and education.

Find out more about Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham through members' websites, recent projects, our Postgraduate Opportunities page, and a showcase of recent publications.

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Monkeys Choose Mating Partners with Different Genes

This research led by Dr Jo Setchell supports the disputed theory that humans are attracted to those with a dissimilar genetic make up to maintain genetic diversity.