The EAS gives out two awards per year, based on presentations at the AAA meetings. The awards are for best paper by a new investigator and best paper by a student, and they are awarded with a cash prize. Below are the winners in past years.


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Katherine Wander (Binghamton University, SUNY) for a presentation entitled “Is Drinking Tea a Dietary Adaptation? Tea, Iron, and Infection Among Children in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania”

Best Student Paper: Sarah Alami Gouraftei (UC Santa Barbara) for a presentation entitled “Evaluating the Effects of Maternal Social Status on Child Health in Amazonian Bolivia”


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Given jointly to Siobhan Mattison (UNM) for a presentation entitled “Kinship and Sex-Biased Parental Investment Among the Mosuo of Southwest China,” and Adrian Jaeggi (UCSB) for a presentation entitled “Does Market Integration Buffer Risk, Erode Traditional Sharing Practices and Increase Inequality: A Test Among Bolivian Forager-Farmers.”

Best Student Paper: Eleanor Power (Stanford) for a paper entitled “Subtle and Dramatic: Strategies of Religious Signaling in Rural South India.

This year we also gave a special undergraduate student award to Delaney Glass and Shane Scraggs (Boise State) for a paper entitled “Four Pathways to Generosity: Evolutionary Mechanisms Differentially Affect Charitable Donations.”


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Matthew M Gervais (Rutgers) for a presentation entitled “Interpersonal Attitudes Adaptively Regulate Social Relationships: Evidence from RICH Economic Games in Fiji.”

Best Student Paper: Samuel Scott Urlacher (Harvard) and Karen Kramer (Utah) for a presentation entitled “Longitudinal Changes in Childhood Time Allocation, Physical Activity Level, and Anthropometry in a Rapidly Modernizing Indigenous Maya Community”.


Best Paper by a New Investigator

Drew Gerkey

Title: Risk-Pooling, Resilience, and Common-Pool Resources in Siberia: Synthesizing Field Experiments and Ethnography

Drew Gerkey (University of Maryland; College Park), E. Lance Howe (University of Alaska-Anchorage), James J Murphy (University of Alaska-Anchorage) and Colin Thor West PhD (Univ. North Carolina)

Abstract: Research on cooperation focuses on strategic risks—the potential costs and benefits of choosing a strategy in a social context shaped by the actions of other people. But social dilemmas often entail environmental risks as well, where people are affected by unpredictable shocks and other misfortunes. Risk-pooling is one strategy for adapting to environmental risks that has intrigued evolutionary theorists, economists, and ethnographers alike. If the strategic risks of pooling resources can be overcome, groups facing unpredictable environments can thrive where individuals acting alone struggle to survive. We present results from a new field experiment, conducted with common-pool resource users in rural villages in Siberia and Alaska. Our design builds on a multi-round public goods game, systematically varying strategic and environmental risks in order to understand the emergence of risk-pooling strategies. Our methods allow us to explore the impact of reputational dynamics, environmental shocks, and communication on risk-pooling strategies. Using survey data on social networks of support, interviews, and participant observation, we explore how decisions in these field experiments correspond to actions in naturally occurring contexts of cooperation in Siberia and Alaska.

Best Paper by a New Investigator

Brian Wood (Yale U)

Title: The Hadza and the Honeyguide Bird

Brian M Wood (Yale University), Frank W Marlowe (University of Cambridge), Herman Pontzer (CUNY Hunter College) and David Raichlen (University of Arizona)

Abstract: When Hadza hunter-gatherers of northern Tanzania search their woodlands for sources of wild honey, they are often helped by a bird they call Tikiliko, which leads them to hives of the African honeybee, Apis mellifera. This bird is known appropriately in English as the Greater Honeyguide (Indicator indicator). Relying upon observations carried out between 2006-2012, this paper describes how honeyguides and Hadza interacted, tests whether honeyguides changed the Hadza's efficiency at finding honey, calculates the fraction of the Hadza diet that was acquired with honeyguides' help, examines how and why the Hadza manipulate honeyguides, and considers the co-evolution of the relationship. We find that honeyguides provided a 7-fold increase in men's rate of encountering beehives. Honeyguides' only led men to hives of A. mellifera, which produced larger stores of honey and brood than any of the other local bee species. Interestingly, honeyguides led Hadza to significantly higher-yielding hives of A. mellifera than those found without honeyguides' help. The bird plays a very important role in the Hadza diet: 57% of all the honey and brood calories that men acquired came from hives found with honeyguides' help. Surprisingly, not once did a Hadza ever actively repay a honeyguide; on the contrary, if they ever acted to influence the bird's payoff, it was to reduce it. Even so, available evidence generally supports the hypothesis that early human ancestors partnered with the bird, leading to the evolution of this extraordinary relationship.

Best Paper by a Student

Glowacki, Luke (Harvard U)

Title: Raiding Party Formation, Composition, and the Collective Action Problem: Results From an East African Pastoralist Society

Abstract: Participation in warfare in small-­‐scale societies presents an especially salient example of collective action. Warriors take significant mortality risks to produce non-­‐excludable benefits such as deterrence and territorial expansion. Little is known about inter-­‐individual variation in participation or the formation of raiding parties. Do individuals participate uniformly in conflict, or is there significant variation? Is raiding party leadership stable across raids? Answers to questions such as these have important implications for understanding how collective action problems are solved in small-­‐scale societies. Using data on warfare obtained from nomadic pastoralists in southwest Ethiopia, I show 1) significant inter-­‐individual participation on raiding parties for 120 males, 2) raiding party composition for 21+ raids and 3) stable group leadership on 21+ raids. Together these provide data to test theories of collective action. 


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Aaron Blackwell (UCSB) – Trade-Offs Between Current and Future Immune Defense: naïve and Memory T-Cell Populations are Associated with Differential Growth Outcomes in an Indigenous Amazonian Population [co-authored by Hillard Kaplan (UNM), Ivan Maldonado Suarex (Proyecto Salud y Antropologia Tsimane), Jonathan Stieglitz (UNM), and Michael Gurven (UCSB)].

Best Paper by a Student: Adam Boyette (WSU Vancouver) – Developmental and Cultural Variation in Children’s Choice of Cultural Models among Aka Foragers and Ngandu Farmers.


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Brooke Scelza (UCLA) – Old Theories, New Data: Paternity, Fidelity and Female Choice among the Himba.

Best Paper by a Student: Katie Starkweather (U Missouri) – A Survey of Non-Classical Polyandry (co-authored with Raymond Hames).


Best Paper by a New Investigator: J. Colette Berbesque (Roehampton University) – Sex Differences in Food Consumption and Dental Attrition in Hadza Hunter-Gatherers. (Paper coathored with Frank Marlowe and Alyssa Crittenden)

Best Paper by a Student: Michele Escasa (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) – Peripartum Shifts in Female Sociosexuality. (Paper coauthored with Sharon Young and Peter Gray)


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Luke Matthews (Harvard University) – Simple social learning mechanisms are sufficient to produce foraging traditions in capuchin monkeys (genus Cebus).

Best Paper by a Student: Brian Wood (Harvard University) – Hadza kinship and its role in residence patterns and food sharing. (Paper coauthored with Frank Marlowe)


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Dawn Neill (Cal Poly) – Roti or Ramen: Urbanization and Dietary Intake of Urban and Rural Indo-Figian Children.

Best Paper by a Student: Christopher von Rueden  (University of California, Santa Barbara) – The Roots and Fruits of Male Social Status in a Small-Scale Amazonian Society.


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Dan Hruschka (Sante Fe Institute) – Testing Models of Linguistic and Cultural History: A Likelihood Approach.

Best Paper by a Student: David A. Nolin (University of Washington) – A Social Network Analysis of Food-sharing Behavior in Lamalera, Indonesia.


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Aimée Plourde – A costly signaling model of the origins of prestige goods.

Best Paper by a Student: Jeremy Koster – Explaining non-optimal foraging decisions by indigenous Nicaraguan hunters.


Best Paper by a New Investigator: Elizabeth Blum (Norra Stockholms Psykiatri) – Delayed Dispersal in Humans: Effects of Family Circumstances on Dispersal Timing.

Best Paper by a Student: Wesley Allen Arave (University of New Mexico) – Is Blood Thicker than Water for Back-Scratchers?: Balanced Nepotism in a Small-Scale Society.