KRISTEN HAWKES

Curriculum Vitae

KRISTEN HAWKES portrait
  • Distinguished Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Utah

Research

Research Summary

I'm working on human life history evolution, guided by the hypothesis that grandmothering is a fundamental shift in our genus underlying a suite of key features that distinguish humans from other great apes. One current effort is to improve estimates of ovarian and somatic aging in chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, for comparison with humans. The comparisons consider to demographic, behavioral, and physiological variables. I continue to attend to hunter-gatherer behavioral ecology.

Research Statement

My current research is aimed at problems in the evolution of human life history, with particular focus on comparisons between humans and chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. Chimpanzees are not only genetically most similar to us, but also the favored model for estimating life history features in australopithecines, the first taxon in the hominin radiation from our common ancestor. Life history differences and similarities between people and chimpanzees suggest which features have been maintained and which have changed in human evolution. By adding to the available descriptions of chimpanzee ovarian and somatic aging, I aim to improve quantitative characterizations of the similarities and differences with our sister species in patterns of age-specific fertility and mortality, and use those comparisons to evaluate and modify hypotheses about what happened in the evolution of human life history.

Research Keywords

  • primate life history, Interest Level: 5
  • longevity, senescence, follicular atresia, menopause, DHEAS, Interest Level: 5
  • foraging strategies, food sharing, status competition, Interest Level: 5