What is an evolutionary anthropologist?
Anthropology is the study of humans so covers a wide range of disciplines from across the humanities, social sciences and sciences. An evolutionary anthropologist tries to understand how evolution has shaped our anatomy, brains and behaviour to produce the individual we see today. We use a wide range of techniques including genetic analysis, neurochemistry, neuroscience, experimental psychology, sociology, social anthropology, archaeology and behavioural science to try and give a 360-degree interpretation of the behaviour we observe or the anatomy we study. So I interpret social behaviour at the evolutionary level, at the genetic level, at the neural level, at the psychological level, at the behavioural level and at the cultural level. Which all makes a fascinating jigsaw to complete.
Why do you like studying human relationships?
Because they are at the very core of what makes us human and without them we wouldn’t have survived as a species. In addition, we are all fascinated by what makes our relationships tick so it is a way of engaging the public, and particularly students, with science in a way that is relevant to their everyday lives. And I like the fact that I get to people watch for a profession!
Can you find me a partner?
I’m afraid not! My research is purely academic and I don’t apply it commercially despite being asked on many occasions.