Robin Dunbar

Author Biography and Research Interests: 

Robin Dunbar is currently Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology in the School of Anthropology, and a Fellow of Magdalen College. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1998. He is co-Director of the British Academy’s Centenary Research Project ‘Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain’, a multi-disciplinary project involving, in addition to the University of Oxford, research groups at Liverpool University, Royal Holloway (University of London), Southampton University, and the University of Kent.

His principal research interest is the evolution of sociality, with specific focus on humans, nonhuman primates and ungulates.

Currently, there are five main projects:

  1. The behavioural ecology of social and reproductive decision-making (in particular, mate choice and parental investment decisions)
  2. Modelling socio-ecological systems and their evolution
  3. The structure and dynamics of social networks in humans and other mammals (EPSRC Project)
  4. The nature of social bonding
  5. The cognitive and neural underpinnings of social behaviour (including cognitive differences between species, the nature of specialised social cognitive abilities like theory of mind, and the evolution of the mammalian brain).

What Makes us Human?

Robin Dunbar

22 Oct 2008; Science Oxford.

Humans are very closely related to the other apes, and share many aspects of their anatomy, behaviour and ecology.  So why do we appear to be so different?  What are humans not simply “just another great ape”?




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