Alyssa Crittenden

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Expertise: Anthropology, Nutrition, Human Evolutionary Biology, Hunters and Gatherers, Human Ecology


Alyssa Crittenden is an anthropologist who studies the relationship between human behavior and the environment (ecological, political, and social). She seeks to better understand the links between diet, reproduction, growth and development, and maternal, infant, and child health and behavior. Her research interests fall within the domains of Biological Anthropology, Behavioral Ecology, Political Ecology, Medical Anthropology, and Applied Evolutionary Anthropology.

Most of her research has been done in collaboration with the Hadza of Tanzania, East Africa — one of the world’s last remaining hunting and gathering populations — who she has worked with since 2004. She is currently working with members of the Hadza community to explore how women and children’s health is impacted by environmental change, political policy, shifts in diet composition, and ethnotourism. Dr. Crittenden has also recently begun several large-scale studies on the behavioral and demographic characteristics of co-sleeping mothers (who bedshare with their infants) all around the world, including in the US.

Her work is published in top-tier academic journals as well as highlighted in popular outlets, such as The New York Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, the BBC, Psychology Today, and on National Public Radio. She is committed to the open science movement and works to share her research findings with public media domains.


  • 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

Search For Other Experts On

food & nutrition, psychology & human behavior

Alyssa Crittenden In The News

Anthropology News
January 30, 2021
Last year Anthropology News invited sections to help us highlight some of the outstanding people in our discipline and the exciting, impactful work that they do, whether in scholarly, mentoring, business, public, teaching, or activist contexts. The features first published in the November/December issue of the magazine. Thank you to section contributing editors Cathy Amanti, Dori Beeler, Steven Black, Joseph Feldman, Susan Kenyon, Sheina Lew-Levy, Walter E. Little, Patricia D. López, Melissa Maceyko, Laura Meek, Chandra L. Middleton, Catherine Rhodes, Mallika Sarma, and Thea R. Strand.
The Great Courses Daily
January 11, 2021
According to UPI, a box of donated papers from the late Australian poet and journalist A.B. “Banjo” Paterson also contained a tin of chocolates originally commissioned by Queen Victoria about 120 years ago. “The chocolate was still in its straw packaging and silver foil wrapping,” the article said. “The tins were commissioned by Britain’s Queen Victoria and sent to soldiers in South Africa during the Boer War around 1900 as a gift to the troops.
September 23, 2020
A group of social scientists who conduct cross-cultural research are casting a critical lens on their own practices.
September 23, 2020
A group of social scientists who conduct cross-cultural research are casting a critical lens on their own practices.

Articles Featuring Alyssa Crittenden

Research | September 22, 2020
Social science researchers offer recommendations for navigating ethical dilemmas in studying global societies.
UNLV campus
Research | January 26, 2018
Three faculty garner 2018 Barrick Scholar Awards for their extensive research achievements.
Alyssa Crittenden
Research | December 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.
A student and faculty member examine an experiment under magnification.
Research | August 11, 2017
McNair/AANAPISI programs for low-income, first-generation students matches undergrads with faculty mentors that share their focus and goals.