Past events

EDG Seminars 2018-2021

March 2nd 2021 – 12.30
Megan Arnot (UCL) The evolutionary demography of menopause timing and symptoms

February 3rd 2021 – 12.30
Dr Sarah Johns (University of Kent) Tinder, #metto and cyberharassment: evolutionary and behavioural perspectives on unsolicited sexual images

July 22nd 2019 – 13.00
Dr Emma Pomeroy (Dept. of Archaeology, University of Cambridge) Evidence for the ancient origins of low lean mass and heightened chronic disease susceptibility among contemporary South Asians

June 3rd 2019 – 13.00
Hanzhi May Zhang (UCL Anthropology) Cultural extinction: lessons from population history and life history

May 3rd 2019 – 13.00
Thomas Pollet (Northumbria University, Newcastle) Exploring individual differences in egocentric social networks

March 18th 2019 – 17.00
Lia Betti (University of Roehampton) Women’s birth canal variation and implications for human evolution and obstetrics

February 28th 2019 – 17.00
Sarah Peacey (UCL) The evolution of supernatural beliefs

January 25th 2019 – 12.45
Laura Brown (LSHTM) Understanding socioeconomic disparities in breastfeeding in the UK: exploring the role of environmental quality

November 28th 2018 – 17:15
Piotr Fedurek (University of Roehampton) Social network integration and physiological stress in a small scale society

October 4th 2018 – 12:45
Sophie Hedges (LSHTM) Children’s work and parental investment in education in north-western Tanzania

June 23rd 2018 – 13.00
Daniel Smith  (University of Bristol): Cooperative breeding, kin selection, and the evolution of human childhood

June 15th 2018 – 13.00
Daniel Redhead (University of Essex): It’s talking time: Assessing the temporal dynamics of human social hierarchy.

May 23rd 2018 – 17.30
Caroline Allen (Newcastle University): Impulsivity, hunger, and early life deprivation.

April 19th 2018 – 12.45
Elly Power (LSE): Building Bigness: Reputation, Prominence, and Social Capital in Rural South India.

February 21st 2018 – 12.45
Sian White (LSHTM): Applying evolutionary theory to hygiene behaviour in emergencies.

Conference and workshop hosting

EDG’s Abbey Page co-organised a workshop ‘Who cares? Introducing evoluionary approaches to caregiving and mother-infant health on Monday 11th February at UCL

Description: Different disciplines approach social support different, each emphasising different ‘key’ supporters or care providers. How we conceptualise support and who we define as necessary in bringing up infants as large implications for maternal and infant health as its shapes the research questions we ask and ultimate the policy suggestions or implementation which arises from this research.

In evolutionary anthropology, the importance of wide and diverse social support networks for maternal and infant health is widely acknowledged. However, in public health and non-evolutionary social sciences ‘support’ is often poorly defined, with a strong nuclear family bias regarding caregiving. This workshop will bridge this disciplinary gap by facilitating dialogue and collaboration between evolutionary anthropologists and those with overlapping interests in other fields.

The workshop will consist of a series of research presentations, discussions and activities focusing on caregiving and mother-infant health. From our experience, the greatest challenges in interdisciplinary settings are theoretical misconceptions and language barriers. By opening the workshop with theoretical overviews and defining key terminologies, we will establish common ground and ensure meaningful discussions. At the end of the workshop we will bring these discussions together to reflect on how the different issues highlighted over the course of the day compliment each other (or not), and how these can be reconciled into a ‘practical guide’ of interdisciplinary work on maternal and child health.

Following the workshop there will be a wine reception and a public lecture titled “Beyond the nuclear family: an evolutionary perspective on childrearing” by Professor Rebecca Sear of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This lecture will discuss how our species has evolved a cooperative form of childrearing, where women get help from others to raise their children, and the implications for support (or its lack) for childrearing on child and maternal health.

Click here for a write-up of the workshop.

Session on ‘Critical and theoretical perspectives in demography’ at BSPS Annual Conference 2017

With Wendy Sigle (LSE), Rebecca Sear co-organised a session at the 2017 British Society for Population Studies annual conference on ‘Critical and theoretical perspectives in demography’. This session explored the (potential) contribution of theoretical paradigms and frameworks in demographic research – demography is often described as a discipline without a theory; conversely it can be seen as a theory-rich discipline, since the lack of any overarching theory of its own means it has had to seek out theories from many other disciplines to inform its activity.  We included papers which considered the utility of new theoretical perspectives as well as papers which offered a critical assessment of how particular theoretical perspectives have shaped the status of the discipline and its contributions to knowledge.

The BSPS conference was held in Liverpool, 6-8 September 2017.

More information on the conference is available on the BSPS website.

BSPS Day meeting on ‘Menopause, health and culture’

Rebecca Sear co-organised (with Tiziana Leone) a one-day British Society for Population Studies meeting, with funding from the Biosocial Society, on Wednesday 24th May, at LSE.


A key  factor determining a woman’s experience of menopause is the culture in which she finds herself before, during, and after menopause. In our youth-idolizing Western culture, menopause can seem like an ending. However, in many cultures, menopause is a time of new respect and freedom for women. Even though hormonal changes after menopause produce similar symptoms in many women, cultural differences can still shape how people experience this stage of life. These may arise from variation in a wide range of factors, including stigma (or lack of it) within cultures, access to health services and gender inequalities.

Considerable research shows significant variation across populations in the menopausal experience. Biological, psychological, social and cultural factors are associated with either positive or negative attitudes, perceptions or experiences of menopause in various cultures. Comparative international literature shows that neither biological nor social factors alone are sufficient to explain the variation in experiences of the menopausal transition.

The aim of this workshop is to gather current research on the menopause and its cultural and socio-economic aspects. The objectives are to get a multidisciplinary approach to the topic, including both qualitative and quantitative work. Ultimately we want to highlight a variety of issues surrounding this neglected topic which can have repercussions on health in later life.

Programme is available here: BSPS meeting on Menopause.

European Human Evolution and Behavior (EHBEA) 10th annual conference

5-8 April 2016: The EDG hosted the 10th annual European Human Evolution and Behavior (EHBEA) conference at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Photos are now available from the conference here and here

Past Visitors

EDG has hosted several international visitors, including some long-term collaborators of the Group:

Alejandra Nunez-de-la-Mora, Veracruz University, Mexico

David Coall, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Mary Shenk, University of Missouri, US

Masahito Morita, Kyoto University, Japan

Past EDG Seminars

Joanna Marczak, London School of Economics

Sarah Myers, University of Canterbury, Kent

Lesley Newson, University of California, Davis

Laura Fortunato, Oxford University

Michael Muthukrishna, London School of Economics

Emma Cohen, Oxford University

Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, London School of Economics

Alejandra Nunez-de-la-Mora, Veracruz University, Mexico

Gül Deniz Salalı, University College London

Janet Howard, Bristol University

Felix Tropf, University of Groningen & Oxford University

Abigail Page, University College London

Matthew G. Thomas, University College London

Colette Berbesque, University of Roehampton

Meghan Shirley, University College London

Emily Emmott, University College London

Laura Brown, LSHTM

Sarah Myers, University of Kent

Karthik Panchanathan, University of Missouri

Gillian Pepper, University of Newcastle

Gert Stulp, LSHTM

Sandra Virgo, LSHTM

Mary Shenk, University of Missouri

Caroline Uggala, University College London

Oskar Burger, University of Kent, Canterbury

James Holland Jones, Stanford University