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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
We have a strange nostalgia for our hunter-gatherer days. Despite the fact that many of our ancestors died grim deaths at the hands of animal teeth and simple infections, we seem to cling to the idea that humans were somehow healthier and just, well, better when living off the land. It’s for this reason that many turn to diets based on what either ancestral humans or modern-day hunter-gatherers would eat.
Human behavioral ecologist Alyssa Crittenden of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas has studied the Hadza since 2004.
What does research suggesting we should focus on diet, not exercise to lose weight and the evolutionary reason we sleep less as we age have in common?
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.
Articles Featuring Alyssa Crittenden
Three faculty garner 2018 Barrick Scholar Awards for their extensive research achievements.
UNLV researchers made international headlines this year with their discoveries. Here's a round up of some of our top stories of 2017.