The academic fitness of HBE

Nettle. et al. (2013) summarise the condition of Human Behavioural Ecology. It’s doing alright. Evolution and Human Behavior and Human Nature seem to be the most fertile publishers of research in HBE between 2000 and late 2011. They are followed by American Journal of Human BiologyCurrent Anthropology and Proceedings Royal Society B.

As strong points of the field, the authors identify:

  • vitality – increasing number of published papers
  • broad scope and conceptual coherence
  • high ecological validity in comparison to evolutionary psychology and behavioural economics

HBE fares less well when it comes to:

  • integration with (Animal) Behavioural Ecology
  • the variety of topics:  there a very few, if any, papers on diet, resource extraction, resource storage, navigation, spatial patterns of habitat use, hygiene and social coordination

From my perspective, an exciting development of HBE would be research on  how reputations are built and spread under varied ecological pressures.

Nettle, D., Gibson, M. A., Lawson, D. W. & Sear, R. (in press) Human behavioral ecology: current research and future prospects. Behavioral Ecology