I am a behavioral ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist whose research focuses on the evolutionary forces that shape the behavior of nonhuman primates, including humans. I was born and raised in southern California, and graduated from Pitzer College in Claremont, California with a BA in Anthropology. I earned an MA and PhD from the University of California, Davis in physical anthropology. I was awarded NSF and NIH postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Biology at the University of Chicago, and have held faculty positions at Emory University (1984-86), the University of California, Los Angeles (1986-2012), and Arizona State University (2012-present). I am a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Much of my research focuses on the how natural selection has shaped the behavioral strategies of nonhuman primates. Primates are highly social animals and the fitness of individuals depends at least in part on the outcome of their interactions with other group members. Drawing on data from long-term studies of wild yellow baboons in Kenya and chacma baboons in Botswana, my colleagues and I have shown that female baboons form strong, equitable, supportive, tolerant, and stable bonds with selected partners. The formation of close social bonds is associated with positive fitness outcomes for females---their infants are more likely to survive and females themselves are likely to live longer---and suggest that social bonds have adaptive value for individuals. Similar kinds of findings are accumulating for a diverse set of species, ranging from house mice to horses, and there are intriguing parallels with well-known effects of social ties on human health and wellbeing.

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Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology