Headshot of Alyssa Crittenden

Alyssa Crittenden

Graduate Coordinator; Associate Professor
Department(s): Anthropology
Office: WRI-A 106
Phone: 702-895-3709
Fax: 702-895-4823
Email: alyssa.crittenden@unlv.edu


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. Alyssa Crittenden is currently an Associate Professor and the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Nutrition and Reproduction Laboratory at UNLV.


Ph.D.: University of California, San Diego (2009)

Research Interests

Behavioral ecology, biological anthropology, cooperative breeding, evolution of childhood, evolution of human nutrition, food insecurity, growth and development, life history theory, maternal and infant health, water insecurity.