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Anthropology Department Hosts International Conference on Campus

By: Cienna Madrid   Published 6:42 am / June 20, 2017

A man at a podium

Department chair John Ziker introduces National Academy of Sciences appointee Michael Tomasello at HBES 2017.

The Department of Anthropology hosted the 29th annual meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) at Boise State University May 31-June 3. The 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.

More than 400 people attended the conference from 25 countries, including Japan, Australia, Croatia, Denmark, Brazil and Chile. There were approximately 200 oral presentations and 100 poster presentations covering a range of research areas including mating, morality, disgust, cultural evolution, primatology, ritual and altruism. Presenters came from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy and political science, providing an interdisciplinary perspective on these research topics.

This year’s conference began with a plenary lecture by Peter Gray from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and culminated with a keynote lecture by 2017 National Academy of Sciences appointee Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Duke University.

There was a pre-conference workshop on endocrinology and behavior titled, “Connecting Minds in Social Neuroendocrinology and Evolution,” and the sixth summer institute of the International Society for Human Ethology immediately followed HBES from Sunday to Tuesday evening.

Many people at Boise State helped with the organization of this meeting. John Ziker, Kristin Snopkowski and Kathryn Demps served as conference organizers. This conference would not have been possible without the support of many people across campus, including Faith Brigham, administrative assistant in the Department of Anthropology, Emma Ballantyne from Conference Services, Mishae Fuselier and Lindsey Castle from Catering Services, and Vera Frolova in the Summer Housing Office. In addition, graduate assistant Erica Jaeger helped with countless organizational details and was critical to the conference’s success.  Finally, this event would not have been possible without the help of student volunteers who worked tirelessly during the conference to make sure it ran smoothly.

Next year’s HBES conference will be held in Amsterdam from July 4-7, 2018.  More details can be found here.