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Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Dr. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (2011-2017) is currently Professor Emerita in anthropology at the University of California at Davis. She is a distinguished anthropologist, primatologist and human behaviorist who has made major contributions to the fields of evolutionary and behavioral biology, primatology, human ecology and development, and the evolution of the family. Her contributions have advanced the understanding of topics as diverse as primate parenting and infanticide, cooperative child care in human societies, the evolution of human families, gender equalities and inequalities in monkeys, apes and humans, and most recently, the importance of cooperative infant care to the evolution of empathy and the theory of the mind. Dr. Hrdy received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard in 1975 and holds Honorary Doctorates from Harvard (Science, 2009), University of Humanities—Utrecht (Humanities, 2009), and Willamette University (Humane Letters, 2010). She has received numerous awards including: elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1990) and elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992); the Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Achievement, St. Johns School (1993); Spencer Lecturer, Oxford University (1995); Howell’s Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Biological Anthropology, American Anthropology Association (2001); one of the “Fifty Most Important Women in Science” (2001) by Discover Magazine; the Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award, University of California (2002-2003); Tenth Annual Maurice Galante Lecturer, School of Medicine, UCSF (2005) and the Centennial Medal, Harvard GSAS (2007).

Dr. Hrdy is perhaps best known for her trilogy of popular scientific books: The Woman that Never Evolved (1981, Cambridge, Harvard University Press; chosen by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year in Science and Social Science); Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants and Natural Selection (1999; finalist for the PEN USA WEST 200 Literary Award for Research Nonfiction); and Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding (2009, Cambridge, Harvard University Press; JI Staley Prize from the School of Advanced Research; Howells Prize—Biological Anthropology Section, American Anthropology Association ). She is an excellent communicator who successfully transmits her ideas through her popular books and her public lectures. (Photo image of Professor Hrdy: S. Bassouls).

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