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Omo Valley
About our Research

We are an interdisciplinary group based at Boston University studying how humans produce complex social structures. The components to build our social systems were already in place among our hunting and gathering ancestors. What were they? How and why were they combined to unleash seemingly limitless possibilities to the scale of cooperation and organization we are capable of?


Much of the complex social behavior we produce emerges from bottom-up decision-making. Just as sub-cellular processes can give rise to complex emergent structures and behavior, humans also produce emergent phenomena unintentionally, such as the structured villages seen in the satellite imagery above. ​We focus on understanding social systems as emerging from the decisions of individuals interacting within a social environment.

We prioritize understanding behavior in its real-world context. Thus we rely heavily on naturalistic field studies and maintain a long-term fieldsite among traditional populations in southwest Ethiopia. 

Recent News

  • HSB Lab member Dithapelo Medupe wins the New Investigator Award at the 2023 Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) conference.

  • Paper on Human social organization in the Late Pleistocene wins the Margo Wilson Award for best paper in Evolution and Human Behavior in 2022.

Contact Us

Mailing Address

232 Bay State Road

Department of Anthropology

Boston University

Boston, MA 02215


laglow 'at' BU 'dot' edu

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