Applied evolutionary anthropology and demography

Several members of the Evolutionary Demography Group are involved in projects applying theory and methods from evolutionary anthropology to topics relevant to contemporary policy and international development (Hedges, Hassan, Sear, Streeter).

Work overseas, with relevance to international development, is in collaboration with David Lawson, an ex-Evolutionary Demography Group member, now Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara. Projects include: (1) Sophie Hedges investigating time allocation trade-offs between children’s schooling and labour contributions to the household econony; and (2) Anushe Hassan exploring how paternal investment and women’s empowerment link to children’s health. For more information, take a look at David’s ‘Lawson Lab’ webpage: https://davidwlawson.wordpress.com/lawson-lab/

Work with relevance to contemporary policy in the UK includes: (1) Laura Streeter using advanced statistical techniques to explore how environmental factors influence breastfeeding, and how these interact with socioeconomic-status; and (2) Rebecca Sear applying the lessons of her project on family influences on fertility to policy-relevant issues such as fertility and parenting.

Rebecca Sear is also a co-author on the lead article in a new Lancet Series focusing on evolutionary approaches to public health, lead authored and co-ordinated by Jonathan Wells, UCL Institute of Child Health.