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Alyssa Crittenden

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Expertise: Anthropology, Nutrition, Human Behavioral Ecology, Hunters and Gatherers, Evolution of Childhood


Alyssa Crittenden is the Lincy Foundation Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UNLV, and a behavioral ecologist and nutritional anthropologist who works among the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, East Africa.

Her research interests include the evolution of the human diet, the evolution of childhood, the development of children's prosocial behavior, and the origins of the division of labor between the sexes.  She applies the principles of evolutionary theory to the study of human behavior and cultural diversity. Her work crosses several disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, ecology, nutrition, and human biology. 

Published widely in top-tier academic journals, Crittenden's research on the role of honey in human evolution and her work on Hadza diet and the gut microbiome has found its way to popular venues, such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian, National Public Radio, and several documentaries which have been shown in film festivals around the world.


  • Ph.D., Biological Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Alyssa Crittenden In The News

Aug 25, 2017

Much like the weather, some human stomachs change throughout the year. The gut microbes of the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer group in Tanzania, shift dramatically as their diet changes with the seasons, according to new research from Stanford University. When applied on a longer timescale, these trends could explain why industrialized populations have a less diverse set of gut microbes and more chronic disease relative to hunter-gatherer populations.

Aug 8, 2017

You wake up with a jolt and take a look outside. The moon is still out, the sun isn’t quite up, and you still have a few hours to go before starting your day. In an ideal world, you would have slept cleanly through the night. (By the way, you can make these eight little changes to sleep better in just one day.)

Jul 17, 2017

It is known that once they reach a certain age, elders are sleeping fewer and fewer hours at night. While most of them complain of the side effects of their sleeping issues, this topic might pertain to the heritage humans receive from prehistoric times. Thousands of years ago, the oldest members of a group might have been in charge of watching over the cave at night.

Jul 14, 2017

Trouble sleeping is a common complaint among older folks, but what if their insomnia traces back to prehistoric times when Grandma and Grandpa were in charge of keeping the cave safe at night?

Articles Featuring Alyssa Crittenden

UNLV campus
Jan 26, 2018

Three faculty garner 2018 Barrick Scholar Awards for their extensive research achievements.

Alyssa Crittenden
Dec 26, 2017

UNLV researchers made international headlines this year with their discoveries. Here's a round up of some of our top stories of 2017.

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