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Robert Walker

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Science

Areas of Expertise


Walker, Robert

Walker’s research focuses on trying to understand the evolution of human bio-cultural variation. He conducts fieldwork in Brazil and collects comparative population and cultural information for large samples of lowland South American societies. This research is comprised of four main areas of interest:
1. Cultural phylogenetics: investigation of population expansions, phylogeographies, and cultural evolution using comparative phylogenetic methods based on language
2. Amazonian cultural variation: evolutionary histories of various cultural traits including violence and warfare, post-marital residence, and partible paternity, the conception belief that multiple men can be co-genitors of one child; partible paternity beliefs are common in lowland South American yet essentially unheard of in the rest of the world
3. Hunter-gatherer cultural variation: global comparative databases involving kin co-residence, mating/marriage practices, and other cultural traits to reconstruct ancestral human culture
4. Life-history variation and population dynamics: quantifying rates of growth, fertility, and mortality across natural-fertility human populations with a focus on population dynamics of recently-contacted and isolated Amazonian societies with implications for ethnolinguistic conservation

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