Hames' Plenary

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by LAW Mon, 06/08/2015 - 14:11

Hames Delivers Plenary Address at the 27th Annual Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference

Raymond Hames, Professor of Anthropology, delivered the first plenary address at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society annual conference, convening at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, 27-30 May, 2015. In his plenary address entitled “An Assessment of Inclusive Fitness Theory in Humans,” Hames reviewed the current status of kin selection, the notion that close kin assist each other even at considerable costs to themselves, which has been offered to explain a variety of apparently altruistic and cooperative behaviors usually attributed to “culture.” His presentation identified areas in which kin investment is well documented in a variety of areas from alloparental care to political coalitions, how investment varies across the life course, where kin investment is surprisingly absent, and some problems in current approaches to kin investment as well as opportunities for future research.

The Human Behavior and Evolutionary Society is the premier international organization for the study of evolution and human behavior. Its membership includes researchers from a range of disciplines in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences. 

Hames was introduced by his mentor and colleague of 30 years, Napoleon Chagnon, Research Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri and National Academy of Science member. Both Hames and Chagnon are known for their long-term ethnographic field work among the Yanomamö, a relatively isolated horticultural group indigenous to the Amazon, in which they used an evolutionary approach to understand social behavior.  They currently are working on an NSF-funded project to examine Yanomamo kinship, marriage, reproductive success, and demography.  The data from which this research is drawn will be eventually archived and publically available through the University of Michigan.