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. Crittenden has also launched 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.
Additionally, Crittenden hosts "Food, Science, and the Human Body," a video series produced by The Great Courses and National Geographic, which answers perplexing questions about the evolution of the human diet, its relationship to our bodies, and why — from an anthropology, biology, history, nutrition, health science, economics, and sociology lens — we eat the things we eat.
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