Costly Signals Needed to Deliver Inconvenient Truth

My piece in The Conversation with Shaun Hendy – taking inspiration from the spread of world religions, we argue scientists need to do more to signal commitment to ideas they want to...

The Origin and Expansion of the World’s Largest Hunter-gatherer Language Family

In Nature Ecology & Evolution, Remco Bouckaert, Claire Bowern and we trace the origin and expansion of Pama–Nyungan languages across Australia. You can read a brief summary on this Behind the Paper blog on the Nature Ecology & Evolution website. A basic explanation of...

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Quentin Atkinson

Inaugural lecture by Professor Quentin Atkinson Politics, religion and the last major transition in evolution Abstract: Over the last 12,000 years, a period of rapid cultural evolution has propelled the default mode of human living from small hunter-gatherer bands to...

Quentin came to the University of Auckland in 2010 following a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He has also held postdoctoral positions in the School for the Study of Religion at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and with Professor Mark Pagel in the Zoology Department at the University of Reading, UK. Quentin teaches stage III and postgraduate courses on Evolutionary Psychology and in 2011 he started a new postgraduate course with Dr Niki Harré on Sustainability and Psychology. He is Associate Editor for Evolution and Human Behavior, a guest editor for PNAS, and on the editorial board of Diachronica. In 2012 he was awarded a 5-year, Royal Society of New Zealand, Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.

Recent News

September 2018: In Genome Biology, with Kristiina Tambets, Outi Vesakoski, Terhi Honkola, Mait Metspalu and colleagues, we reveal the demographic history of Uralic-speaking populations.

July 2018: In Nature Human Behaviour, with PhD students Joseph Watts and Oliver Sheehan, we find Christianity spread faster in small, politically structured societies. There’s a nice commentary from Nicole Creanza here.

March 2018: In PNAS, with PhD student Oliver Sheehan and colleagues, we investigate the co-evolution of landesque capital intensive agriculture and sociopolitical hierarchy.
In Nature Ecology & Evolution, Remco Bouckaert, Claire Bowern and we trace the origin and expansion of Pama–Nyungan languages across Australia. You can read a brief summary on this Behind the Paper blog on the Nature Ecology & Evolution website. A basic explanation of what we did is also available here.
With Ben Purzycki and the CERC team, our paper out in PLoSONE uses data from Vanuatu field sites and six other locations around the world to examine the relationship between material security, life history, and moralistic religions.

August 2017: My piece in The Conversation with Shaun Hendy – taking inspiration from the spread of world religions, we argue scientists need to do more to signal commitment to ideas they want to spread.
Luke Maurits, Robert Forkel, Gereon Kaiping and I release BEASTLing: A software tool for linguistic phylogenetics using BEAST 2.

May 2017: Two fully funded PhD studentships available on the cultural evolution of human social behaviour. Apply by 15th June.
In a comment on The Nature of Religious Diversity in Religion, Brain and Behavior, Carlos Botero, Luke Harmon and I discuss the promise and limits of eco-evolutionary studies of human culture.

March 2017: My paper in Religion, Brain and Behavior on religion and expanding the cooperative sphere in Kastom and Christian villages on Tanna, Vanuatu and an associated CERC team paper on the evolution of religion and morality.

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