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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Professor Russell Hill

Hill, R.A. (2017). Dunbar, R.I.M. (Robin Ian MacDonald). In The International Encyclopaedia of Primatology. Fuentes, A. Chichester, UK Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Author(s) from Durham


Robin Dunbar is a leading figure in British primatology. Since his early work on the social and reproductive strategies of gelada baboons in the 1970s, his research has focused on the evolution of sociality in primates. He has made significant contributions to understanding the constraints on social group size, particularly through the development of time budget models that showed how climatic variables influenced grouping patterns and biogeographical distribution in primates. His studies of primate brain evolution, leading to his social brain hypothesis, identifying Dunbar's Number, and his gossip hypothesis for the evolution of language, have made significant contributions to the field and led to his current investigations into the structure and dynamics of contemporary human social networks.