Richard McElreath

image of Richard McElreath

Asst Professor


Population Biology

Offices and Labs

222 Young Hall

Profile Introduction


2001 PhD Anthropology University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies humans. My main interest is in how the evolution of fancy social learning in humans accounts for the unusual nature of human adaptation and extraordinary scale and variety of human societies. Humans are more widespread and successful than any other vertebrate. Simultaneously, humans are unlike any other animal in that we cooperate in very large groups of unrelated individuals. I and my colleagues use formal evolutionary models, experiments and ethnographic fieldwork to address these puzzles. I also have strong interests in general evolutionary ecology, especially the evolution of social behavior.

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Population Biology
Animal Behavior

Field Sites



ANT 261 Modeling the evolution of social behavior (Winter)


5/21/2010 9:26:34 AM
  • Henrich, J., and R. McElreath. (2003). The evolution of cultural evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology, 12:123-135.
  • McElreath, R., T.H. Clutton-Brock, E. Fehr, D.M.T. Fessler, E.H. Hagen, P. Hammerstein, M. Kosfeld, M. Milinski, J. Silk, J. Tooby, and M.I. Wilson. (2003). The Role of Cognition and Emotion in Cooperation. In P. Hammerstein (ed.), The Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation.
  • Soltis, J., and R. McElreath. (2001). Can females gain additional paternal investment by mating with multiple males? A game theoretic approach. The American Naturalist 158(5):519-529.
  • McElreath, R. (2004). Social learning and the maintenance of cultural variation: An evolutionary model and data from East Africa. American Anthropologist 106(2):308-321.