Michael Gurven


Contact Phone

(805) 893-2202

Office Location

HSSB 2060


Integrative Anthropological Sciences (behavioral ecology, human biology, biodemography, hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists, life history theory, indigenous health; Bolivia, Paraguay)


PhD, University of New Mexico


Research Interests

Professor Gurven's research intersects 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, conflict and disaster. He has published extensively on the economics of exchange and production, and on collective action, based primarily on fieldwork with the Ache of Paraguay and Tsimane of Bolivia, two South American forager-horticulturalist populations.

His current research in biodemography and health disparities attempts to understand environmental and social impacts on growth, development, and aging across the lifespan. He also focuses on how acculturation and market integration have impacted demographic and social patterns, and chronic disease risk (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, dementia) among indigenous populations. Since 2002, Gurven has directed the Tsimane Health and Life History Project, a long-term study funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, to understand biological and social contexts of life history tradeoffs affecting health and life span.



Sample Publications