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Biological Anthropology at UCSD

Program Description

Biological anthropology at UCSD addresses the evolution of the culture-bearing capacity in humans and closely related species from a strongly comparative perspective. Humans, today, are a super-dominant species. How we got this way fires up public and scientific imaginations; yet while there are many theories and speculations about our origins none has yet provided a full explanation of our evolutionary history. The difficulties go beyond the mere facts to profound philosophical issues including ones extremely relevant to the modern human predicament.

We believe that the answers can come only from the type of intra-, inter-, and cross-disciplinary collaborations we represent. We aim to understand the origins, organization complexity and socioecology of nonhuman primate societies. We explore the relationship between socioecology and the neural substrates of complex behavior in primates. We study and reconstruct subsistence strategies of humans and nonhuman primates within varied environments and social systems. We consider the constraints or consequences of food resources (energy availability) on energy expenditure and neural organization.

All biological anthropology faculty are involved in UCSD’s Center for Advanced Research and Training in Anthropogeny (the investigation of the origin of humans, Oxford English Dictionary, 2006) or CARTA. Each faculty member also has individual research areas outside our core group. We are involved in applying our scientific knowledge to the conservation of primate species and habitats. We emphasize bioarchaeology in reconstructing prehistoric human diet, ecology, and migration patterns. We bridge with neurosciences and cognitive science in investigating the neural substrates of cognition in humans.

Students interested in applying to our program should be sure to visit Professor Moore's Guide to Biological Anthropology at UCSD and Beyond and his note on the program at UCSD. We are interested in applicants with excellent academic records whose interests closely match those of the existing faculty.