Beginning in August 2015:
Director
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology, and Culture

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Also:
Professor
Department of
Anthropology
University of California, Davis

I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies humans. My main interest is in how the evolution of fancy social learning in humans accounts for the unusual nature of human adaptation and extraordinary scale and variety of human societies. Humans are more widespread and successful than any other vertebrate. Simultaneously, humans are unlike any other animal in that we cooperate in very large groups of unrelated individuals. I and my colleagues use formal evolutionary models, experiments and ethnographic fieldwork to address these puzzles.

You can listen online to a fairly general talk that presents my approach to human behavior.

And here's a more recent talk about the intersection of cultural evolution and evolved psychology.

Since my work tends to lie at the intersection of evolutionary and cultural anthropology, I sometimes do a good job of displeasing both sides!

Current Projects

Just finished a PhD-level stats book, and still analyzing huge amounts of foraging data with Jeremy Koster. Mainly, building a new department at MPI-EVA.

Contact information

mcelreath@ucdavis.edu

Office: 222 Young Hall
Phone: 530-752-2660
Fax: 530-752-8885

Department of Anthropology
330 Young Hall
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, CA 95616-8522
USA