Integrative Anthropological Sciences (behavioral ecology, human biology, biodemography, hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists, life history theory, indigenous health; Bolivia, Paraguay)
PhD, University of New Mexico
Professor Gurven focuses his research in two principal areas: human social behavior and life history evolution. He has studied how members of small-scale societies organize inter-personal relations to solve salient, recurrent economic problems. This includes the sharing of food and labor among foragers and horticulturalists and different forms of assistance during periods of distress and conflict. He has published extensively on the economics of exchange and food production, and on problems of small-scale collective action, based on fieldwork the Ache of Paraguay and the Tsimane of Bolivia, two groups of South American Amazonian forager-horticulturalists.
His current research in biodemography attempts to explain extended childhood, large brains, long lives, extensive cooperation and family formation among hunter-gatherers, and implications for understanding processes of development, aging and intergenerational resource transfers across the lifespan. He also focuses on how acculturation and market integration have impacted demographic and social patterns among indigenous populations. Since 2002, Gurven has directed the Tsimane Life History and Health Project (with Hillard Kaplan), an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, to understand biological and social contexts of life history tradeoffs affecting life span.
- Gurven, M., Jaeggi, A.V., Kaplan, H., Cummings, D. 2013. Physical activity and modernization among Bolivian Amerindians. PLoS ONE 8(1): e55679. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055679
- Gurven, M. 2012. Human survival and life history in evolutionary perspective. In: The Evolution of Primate Societies. Mitani, J., Call, J., Kappeler, P., Palombit, R., Silk, J. (Eds). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp. 293-314.
- Gurven, M., Blackwell, A., Eid Rodriguez, D., Stieglitz J., Kaplan, H. 2012. Does blood pressure inevitably rise with age? Longitudinal evidence among isolated forager-horticulturalists. Hypertension 60:25-33.
- Gurven, M., Stieglitz, J., Hooper, P., Gomes, C., Kaplan, H. 2012. From the womb to the tomb: the role of transfers in shaping the evolved human life history. Experimental Gerontology 47:807-813.
- Gurven, M., Hill, K. 2009. Why do men hunt? A re-evaluation of "Man the Hunter" and the sexual division of labor. Current Anthropology 50(1):51-74.
- Gurven, M. 2006. The evolution of contingent cooperation.Current Anthropology 47(1):185-192.
- Gurven, M., Walker, R. 2006. Energetic demand of multiple dependents and the evolution of slow human growth.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences 273:835-841.