Research Interests

Zeder's research focuses on the interaction between humans and animals with a particular focus on the processes leading up to animal domestication and the social and environmental impacts agriculture in the ancient Near East. Her early research traced the development of specialized pastoralism as part of the emergence of urban society in highland Iran. She has gone on to study the social and environmental impacts of the agro-pastoral economies in Northern Mesopotamia from the introduction of domesticates through the rise and fall of the first urban societies. Recently, her research has focused on developing analytical methods for tracing the transition from hunting to herding. Her research also draws on evolutionary biology, in particular niche construction theory, in the construction of explanatory frameworks for the domestication of plants and animals. Her work brings together genetics, animal sciences, and archaeology to understand the mechanisms behind animal domestication and the different pathways animals and their human partners traveled into domestication.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology

Secondary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences