Biological Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology at UNLV offers a breadth of undergraduate and graduate coursework and provides support for field and lab research in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, human behavioral ecology, paleoanthropology, evolutionary theory, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD), evolutionary psychology, functional anatomy, and biological and biocultural approaches to better understand human evolution and behavior. Faculty and students seek to investigate human diet, reproductive behavior, violence, sexual dimorphism, evolutionary constraints, and other life history features in evolutionary and socioecological context, using such tools as agent-based modeling, 3D geometric morphometrics, osteological analysis, hormone testing, and dietary analysis.


Biological Anthropology faculty at UNLV includes Daniel C. Benyshek, Alyssa Crittenden, Peter Gray, Debra Martin, Brian Villmoare, and Jennifer Byrnes.

Research and Teaching

Faculty research and instruction are integrated through evolutionary and biocultural approaches to topics such as diet, childhood, human sexuality, violence, parenting, paleopathology, inequality of health, and human evolutionary trends among and between early hominins, early members of the genus Homo, and contemporary populations (both historic and extant).

A woman observing two people

Field Work

In recent years, faculty and graduate students in Biological Anthropology at UNLV have worked in the U.S., Romania, Turkey, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Jamaica, St. Kitts, and Hong Kong. Current faculty direct long-term field projects in Northern Tanzania and the Afar Region of Ethiopia. The Department has active connections with the Clark County Coroner’s Office and the recently inaugurated Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.

People smiling
A woman digging up on a site


The Department has extensive skeletal collections from recent human populations and fossil hominin cast materials, as well as digital collections of human, primate, and fossil material.