• Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department
  • Co-director, Orang Asli Health and Lifeways Project (OAHeLP)


  • Lea, AJ, Garcia, AR, Arevalo, JMG, Ayroles, JF, Buetow, K, Cole, SW, Rodriguez, DE, Guttierez, M, Highland, HM, Hooper, P, Justice, A, Kraft, TS, North, KE, Stieglitz, J, Kaplan, HS, Trumble, BC & Gurven, M (2023). Natural selection of immune and metabolic genes associated with health in two lowland Bolivian populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Vol. 120, e2207544120. Published, 01/03/2023.
  • Kraft, T.S., Cummings, D.K., Venkataraman, V.V., Alami, S., Beheim, B., Hooper, P., Seabright, E., Trumble, B.C., Stieglitz, J., Kaplan, H., Endicott, K.L., Endicott, K.E. & Gurven, M (2022). Female cooperative labor networks in hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 378, 20210431. Published, 11/28/2022.
  • Seabright, E., Alami, S., Kraft, T.S., Davis, H., Caldwell, A.E., Hooper, P., McAllister, P., Mulville, L.S., Veile, A., von Rueden, C., Trumble, B., Stieglitz, J, Gurven, M.D. & Kaplan, H. (2022). Repercussions of patrilocal residence on mothers' social support networks among Tsimane forager-farmers. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 378, 20210442. Published, 11/28/2022.
  • Wallace, I.J., Lea, A.J., Lim, Y., Chow, S.K., Sayed, I.b.M., Ngui, R., Shaffee, M.T.H, Ng, K.S., Nicholas, C., Venkataraman, V.V. & Kraft, T.S (2022). Orang Asli Health and Lifeways Project (OA HeLP): a cross-sectional cohort study protocol. BMJ Open. Vol. 12, e058660. Published, 09/20/2022.
  • Wallace, I.J., Kraft, T.S., Venkataraman, V.V., Davis, H.E., Holowka, N.B., Harris, A.R., Lieberman, D.E. & Gurven, M.D. (2022). Cultural variation in running techniques among non-industrial societies. Evolutionary Human Sciences. Vol. 4, e14. Published, 04/11/2022.
  • Gatz, M., Mack, W.J., Chui, H.C., Law, E.M., Barisano, G., Sutherland, M.L., Sutherland, J.D., Rodriguez, D.E., Quispe Gutierrez, R., Copajira, J.A., Cuata, J.B., Borenstein, A.R., Walters, E.E., Irimia, A., Rowan, C.J., Wann, L.S., Allam, A.H., Thompson, R.C., Miyamoto, M.I., Michalik, D.E., Cummings, D.K., Seabright, E., Garcia, A.R., Hooper, P.L., Kraft, T.S., Finch, C.E., Thomas, G.S., Stieglitz, J., Trumble, B.C., Gurven, M.D. & Kaplan, H. (2022). Prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in indigenous Bolivian forager‐horticulturalists. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 1-12. Published, 03/09/2022.
  • Holowka, NB, Kraft, TS, Wallace, IJ, Gurven, M & Venkataraman, VV (2022). Forest terrains influence walking kinematics among indigenous Tsimane of the Bolivian Amazon. Evolutionary Human Sciences. Vol. 4, e19. Published, 04/22/2022.
  • Kraft, TS, Venkataraman, VV, Wallace, IJ, Crittenden, AN, Holowka, N, Stieglitz, J, Harris, J, Wood, B, Raichlen, D, Gurven, M & Pontzer, H (2021). The energetics of uniquely human subsistence strategies. Science. Vol. 374, eabf0130. Published, 12/24/2021.
  • Schneider-Crease, I, Blackwell, AD, Kraft, TS, Thompson, ME, Suarez, IM, Cummings, DK, Stieglitz, J, Snyder-Mackler, N, Gurven, M, Kaplan, H & Trumble, BC (2021). Helminth infection is associated with dampened cytokine responses to viral and bacterial stimulations in Tsimane forager-horticulturalists. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. Vol. 9, 349-359. Published, 10/26/2021.
  • Garcia, AR, Finch, CE, Gatz, M, Kraft, TS, Cummings, D, Charifson, M, Rodriguez, DE, Buetow, K, Beheim, B, Allayee, H, Thomas, G, Stieglitz, J, Gurven, M, Kaplan, H & Trumble, BC (2021). APOE4 is associated with elevated blood lipids and lower levels of innate immune biomarkers in a tropical Amerindian subsistence population. eLife. Vol. 10, e68231. Published, 09/29/2021.
  • Jaeggi, AV, Blackwell, AD, von Rueden, C, Trumble, B, Stieglitz, J, Garcia, A, Kraft, TS, Kaplan, H & Gurven, M (2021). Do wealth and inequality associate with health in a small-scale subsistence society?. eLife. Vol. 10, e59437. Published, 05/14/2021.
  • Rowan, C, Eskander, MA, Seabright, E, Rodriguez, DE, Linares, EC, Gutierrez, RQ, Adrian, JC, Cummings, D, Beheim, B, Tolstrup, K, Achrekar, A, Kraft, TS, Michalik, DE, Miyamoto, MI, Allam, AH, Wann, LS, Narula, J, Trumble, BC, Stieglitz, J, Thompson, RC, Thomas, G, Kaplan, H & Gurven, M (2021). Very low prevalence and incidence of atrial fibrillation among Bolivian forager-farmers. Annals of Global Health. Vol. 87. Published, 02/16/2021.
  • Gurven, M*, Kraft, TS*, Alami, S, Copajira, AJ, Linares, EC, Cummings, D, Rodriguez, DE, Hooper, PL, Jaeggi, AV, Gutierrez, QR, Suarez, IM, Seabright, E, Kaplan, H, Stieglitz, J & Trumble, B (2020). Rapidly declining body temperature in a tropical population. Science Advances. Vol. 6, eabc6599. Published, 10/28/2020.
  • Snorek, J, Kraft, TS, Chockalingam, V, Gao, A & Ray, M (2020). How social connections to local CBNRM institutions shape interaction: a mixed methods case from Namibia. Journal of Sustainable Development. Vol. 13, 26-42. Published, 10/12/2020.
  • Kraft, TS, Stieglitz, J, Trumble, BC, Garcia, AR, Kaplan, H & Gurven, M (2020). Multi-system physiological dysregulation and ageing in a subsistence population. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 375, 20190500. Published, 09/21/2020.
  • Koster, J, McElreath, R, Hill, K, Yu, D, Shepard, G, van Vliet, N, Gurven, M, Trumble, BC, Bird, RB, Bird, D, Codding, B, Coad, L, Pacheco-Cobos, L, Winterhalder, B, Lupo, K, Schmitt, D, Sillitoe, P, Franzen, M, Alvard, M, Venkataraman, VV, Kraft, TS, Endicott, K, Beckerman, S, Marks, SA, Headland, T, Pangau-Adam, M, Siren, A, Kramer, K, Greaves, R, Reyes-Garcia, V, Gueze, M, Duda, R, Fernandez-Llamazares, A, Gallois, S, Napitupulu, L, Ellen, R, Ziker, J, Nielsen, MR, Ready, E, Healey, C & Ross, C (2020). The life history of human foraging: cross-cultural and individual variation. Science Advances. Vol. 6, eaax9070. Published, 06/24/2020.
  • Gurven, M, Davison, R & Kraft, TS (2020). The optimal timing of teaching and learning across the life course. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 375, 20190500. Published, 06/01/2020.
  • Kaplan, HS, Trumble, BC, Stieglitz, J, Mamany, RM, Cayuba, MG, Moye, LM, Alami, S, Kraft, TS, Gutierrez, RQ, Adrian, JC, Thompson, RC, Thomas, GS, Michalik, DE, Rodriguez, DE & Gurven, M (2020). Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon. The Lancet. Vol. 395, 1727-1734. Published, 05/30/2020.
  • Kraft, TS, Venkataraman, VV, Endicott, KL & Endicott, KM (2020). Preserving quantifiable ethnographic records of disappearing human lifeways. Evolutionary Anthropology. Vol. 29, 117-124. Published, 05/29/2020.
  • Alami, S, von Rueden, C, Seabright, E, Kraft, TS, Blackwell, AD, Stieglitz, J, Kaplan, H & Gurven, M (2020). Mother’s social status is associated with child health in a horticulturalist population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol. 287, 20192783. Published, 03/11/2020.
  • Dinkel, KA, Costa, ME, Kraft, TS, Stieglitz, J, Cummings, DK, Gurven, M, Kaplan, H & Trumble, BC (2019). Relationship of sanitation, water boiling, and mosquito nets to health biomarkers in a rural subsistence population. American Journal of Human Biology. Vol. 32, e23356. Published, 12/10/2019.
  • Anderson, A, Trumble, BC, Hove, C, Kraft, TS, Kaplan, H, Gurven, M & Blackwell, AD (2019). Old friends and friendly fire: Costs of hookworm infection during pregnancy among tropical horticulturalists. American Journal of Human Biology. Vol. 32, e23337. Published, 10/23/2019.
  • Kraft, TS, Venkataraman, VV, Tacey, IC, Kawai, A, Dominy, NJ & Endicott, KM (2018). Foraging performance, prosociality, and kin support do not predict lifetime reproductive success in Batek hunter-gatherers. Human Nature. Vol. 30, 71-97. Published, 12/14/2018.
  • Venkataraman, VV, Yegian, AK, Wallace, IJ, Holowka, N, Tacey, I, Gurven, M & Kraft, TS (2018). Locomotor constraints favor the evolution of the human pygmy phenotype in tropical rainforests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol. 285, 20181492. Published, 11/07/2018.
  • Kraft, TS, Stieglitz, J, Trumble, BC, Martin, M, Kaplan, H & Gurven, M (2018). Nutrition transition in two lowland Bolivian subsistence populations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 108, 1183-1195. Published, 10/21/2018.
  • Gurven, M & Kraft, TS (2017). Comment on “Why Wage-Earners Hunt: Food Sharing, Social Structure, and Influence in an Arctic Mixed Economy” . Current Anthropology. Vol. 59, 88-89. Published, 12/28/2017.
  • Venkataraman, VV, Kraft, TS, Dominy, NJ & Endicott, KM (2017). Hunter-gatherer residential mobility and the marginal value of rainforest patches. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Vol. 114, 3097-3102. Published, 03/06/2017.
  • Kraft, TS & Venkataraman, VV (2015). Could plant extracts have enabled hominins to acquire honey prior to the acquisition of fire?. Journal of Human Evolution. Vol. 85, 65-74. Published, 08/01/2015.
  • Kraft, TS, Wright, SJ, Turner, I, Lucas, PW, Oufiero, CE, Supardi Noor, MN, Sun, I-F & Dominy, NJ (2015). Seed size and the evolution of leaf mechanical defenses. Journal of Ecology. Vol. 103, 1057-1068. Published, 07/01/2015.
  • Pearse, I, Funk, KA, Kraft, TS & Koenig, WD (2015). Lagged effects of early-season herbivores on valley oak fecundity. Oecologia. Vol. 178, 361-368. Published, 01/08/2015.
  • Kraft, TS, Venkataraman, VV & Dominy, NJ (2014). A natural history of human tree climbing. Journal of Human Evolution. Vol. 71, 105-118. Published, 06/01/2014.
  • Venkataraman, VV*, Kraft, TS*, DeSilva, JM & Dominy, NJ (2013). Phenotypic plasticity of climbing-related traits in the ankle joint among rainforest hunter-gatherers. Human Biology. Vol. 85, 309-328. Published, 06/01/2013.
  • Kraft, TS & van Nouhuys, S (2013). The effect of multi-species host density on superparasitism and sex ratio in a gregarious parasitoid. Ecological Entomology. Vol. 38, 138-146. Published, 03/11/2013.
  • Venkataraman, VV, Kraft, TS & Dominy, NJ (2012). Tree climbing and human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Vol. 110, 1237-1242. Published, 12/31/2012.
  • Koenig, WD, Carmen, WJ, Funk, KA, Kraft, TS, Barringer, BC & Knops, JMH (2012). Stabilizing selection for within season flowering phenology confirms pollen limitation in a wind-pollinated tree. Journal of Ecology. Vol. 100, 758-763. Published, 01/04/2012.
  • van Nouhuys, S & Kraft, TS (2011). Indirect interaction between butterfly species mediated by a shared pupal parasitoid. Population Ecology. Vol. 54, 251-260. Published, 12/23/2011.

Research Statement

I am a human behavioral ecologist interested in how interactions between social behavior, culture, and the environment shape human health and life history. At the broadest level, my research combines quantitative ethnographic fieldwork with tools and theory from biomedicine, evolutionary biology, and ecology to answer questions about the energetic strategies that enable the unique human life history pattern, why some people are more likely to become sick with or die from chronic non-communicable diseases, and why individuals age at different rates.

My research involves fieldwork at two primary sites: 

Peninsular Malaysia: Since 2013 I have been working in the Malaysian states of Kelantan and Pahang with the Batek. The Batek are one of several indigenous populations inhabiting Peninsular Malaysia. Although the Batek traditionally practiced a nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyle, extreme habitat degradation and government policies encouraging assimilation are causing a rapid process of social, economic, and cultural transition. Understanding how this transition is affecting life history decisions, the structure of social networks, and health outcomes, is a key focus of my research. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Vivek Venkataraman, Dr. Kirk Endicott, and Karen Endicott.

Since 2020, I have been co-directing the Orang Asli Health and Lifeways Project, an international, multidisciplinary research initiative involving anthropologists, biologists, and health practitioners based in North America and Malaysia ( Our aim is to characterize and improve the health and well-being of the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, with a particular focus on how rapidly changing lifestyles and environments increase the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases. In addition to continuing work with Batek communities, this research involves several different Orang Asli populations throughout Peninsular Malaysia. This project engages Orang Asli communities in systematic and longitudinal monitoring of health status in tandem with anthropological fieldwork on behavior, social factors, and lifestyle attributes contributing to disease risk. We also collect biological samples to assess genetics, physiology, and health. This work is conducted in partnership with the DRS4ALL program run by the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations, Malaysia (FPMPAM), which provides free health care to Orang Asli communities. 

Bolivia: In 2017 I was fortunate to join the Tsimane Health and Life History Project (THLHP) as a postdoctoral scholar working with Prof. Michael Gurven at UC Santa Barbara. The THLHP is a long-term interdisciplinary research project investigating behavior, life history, health, and aging amongst Indigenous Tsimane forager-horticulturalists in the Beni Department of lowland Bolivia. I continue to work with the THLHP on a number of exciting projects, with some current topics including physiological aging, diet, social networks, and infectious disease dynamics.

Research Keywords

  • foraging strategies, food sharing, status competition
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Hunter-Gatherers
  • Health and Medicine
  • Evolutionary Medicine
  • Evolutionary Anthropolgy
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Aging


  • Title: “Modeling the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a small-scale subsistence population” Venue: UCLA, Behavior, Evolution, and Culture Series . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/13/2023.
  • Garcia AR, Lu YK, Gatz M, Rodriguez DE, Gutierrez RQ, Adrian JC, Cuata, JB, Sutherland ML, Sutherland JD, Cummings DK, Kraft TS, Mack WJ, Chui HC, Law M, Barisano G, Borenstein AR, Irimia A, Walters EE, Thomas GS, Thompson RC, Miyamoto MI, Michalik DE, Wann LS, Allam AH, Rowan CJ, Highland HM, North KE, Finch CE, Stieglitz J, Gurven MD, Trumble BC, Kaplan H, Buetow K. Pathway-based genome analysis of cognitive impairment in a forager-horticulturalist South American population. Podium presentation: Alzheimer's Association International Conference. 18: e062367. Conference Paper, Presented, 12/20/2022.
  • Title: "The energetics of uniquely human subsistence strategies" Venue: Energetics in Anthropology workshop at Duke University. Presentation, Presented, 05/03/2022.
  • Koebele SV, Kraft TS, Garcia AR, Cummings DK, Kaplan H, Gurven M, Stieglitz J, Trumble BC. Associations among sex steroid hormones, bone mineral density, and fracture risk in a sample of adult forager horticulturalists. Annual Meeting of the Human Biology Association. Conference Paper, Presented, 03/24/2022.
  • Title: "The energetics of uniquely human foraging strategies" Presented at: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/04/2022.
  • Kraft TS, Venkataraman VV, Endicott KE, Alami S, Seabright E, Gurven M. Female cooperative labor networks in hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists. 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Conference Paper, Presented, 04/14/2021.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Early life effects on health during rapid lifestyle change: evolutionary and molecular mechanisms. PI: Amanda Lea. Co-PI(s): Thomas Kraft, Ian Wallace. National Science Foundation, 04/15/2022 - 03/31/2025. Total project budget to date: $460,000.00


  • Batek, functional.
  • Standard Malay, functional.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Bolivia
  • Malaysia