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Bret A. Beheim

Senior Researcher

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 341 3550 325
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 333
e-mail: bret_beheim@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

office: level 1, room u1.14

personal web page: https://www.babeheim.com/



I use the tools of evolutionary ecology to help understand cumulative cultural dynamics in human societies. Specifically, I look at innovation and strategic retention of ideas and technology in noisy environments, and the demographic aspects of cultural change. I do this through formal theoretical models, the analysis of large-scale economic and behavioral datasets, and through ethnographic fieldwork with Amazonian horticulturalists in collaboration with the Tsimane Health and Life History Project.

Curriculum Vitae

Fields of Interest

Cultural evolution, behavioral ecology, mathematical modeling, East Asia, Latin America, evolutionary demography, cliodynamics


2012-present Post-doctoral Fellow. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico. Albuquerque


2007-2012 Ph.D. Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
2005-2006 M.A. Social Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
2000-2004 B.A. Honors. Anthropology/History. University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Grants, Fellowships, Awards

2015 “The Human Life Course and the Biodemography of Aging”, Co-Investigator,
National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging
2014 Administrative Supplement to “The Human Life Course and the Biodemography of Aging”, Co-Investigator
National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging 
2014 “Surviving the Flood: Vulnerability, Risk Management, and Resilience among Tsimane Forager-Farmers of Bolivia”, Co-Investigator
National Science Foundation
2009 Graduate Fellowship Block Grant
The University of California
2007 Graduate Scholars Fellowship in Ecology
The University of California
2004 Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society

Field Research & Internships

2014 German Busch Hospital, Trinidad, Bolivia. Supervised medical scanning of Tsimane patients, translation for US cardiologists.
2014 Tsimane Villages, Beni Department, Bolivia. Interviews with Tsimane people on technological diffusion, market integration and media acculturation.
2013 Tsimane Villages, Beni Department, Bolivia. Interviews with Tsimane people on language evolution, horticultural focal follows, and energy-expenditure sampling.
2008 Central Valley Communities, California, USA. Interviews with city leaders and urban planners regarding approaches to climate change and sustainability.
2009 Santa Fe Institute. Research design and analysis for ethnographic datasets from 21 anthropological field sites.
2004 Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara. Marine sciences geographic information systems (GIS) technician.
2002 Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Digitized historical census archives for faculty project on 19th-century Irish immigration to California.


Primary Instructor (* = 50/50 co-instructor)
2013, 2014, 2015 ANTH 160 – The Human Life Course
2011, 2012 ESP 178 – Applied Research Methods
2014 ANTH 360 – Human Behavioral Ecology*
2014 ANTH 560 – Research Computing in Evolutionary Anthropology*
2011 ANT 50 – Evolution and Human Nature
2010 ANT 102 – Cultural Ecology*
Teaching Assistant
2010, 2011, 2012 BIS 2B – Ecology and Evolution
2011 ANT 1 – Physical Anthropology
2009 ANT 131 – Ecology and Politics
2009 ESP 10 – Current Issues in the Environment

Service to the Profession

Public White Papers  
2009 Lubell, M., Beheim, B.A., Hillis, V. & Handy, S. (2009) Achieving Sustainability in California’s Central Valley. UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Center
2003 Beheim, B.A. & Reis, M. (2003) A Theory of Social Formalism: The Four Horsemen and the New Deal. Law and Society Review at the University of California, Santa Barbara II:85-94.
Symposium & Seminar Participation  
2015 Beheim, B.A. “Estimating Heritabilities of Reaction Norms with Directed Acyclic      Graphs”
Dynamics of Wealth Inequality and Family Structure,
Santa Fe Institute
2012 Beheim, B.A. “Strategic Social Learning and Evolutionary Arms Races in the Game of Go”,
Santa Fe Institute
2012 Beheim, B.A. “Evolutionary Decomposition and the Dynamics of Inequality” Dynamics of Wealth Inequality and Family Structure,
Santa Fe Institute
2011 Beheim, B.A. “Developing Measures of Cultural Variation and Dynamics in Hokkaido, Japan”,
Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

Journal of Theoretical Biology, Advances in Complex Systems, Human Nature, Evolution and Human Behavior

Professional Memberships & Participation  
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • American Association of Physical
  • Anthropologists Principle Organizer
  • California Undergraduate Anthropology Conference, May 2004
  • Anthropology Student Union President (2003-2004)  
Recent Collaborators
  • Michael Gurven (UCSB)
  • Adrian Jaeggi (UCSB)
  • Aaron Blackwell (UCSB)
  • Anne Pisor (UCSB)
  • Sam Bowles (SFI)
  • Paul Smaldino (UCD)
  • Paul Hooper (Emory)
  • Ryan Baldini (Stanford)
  • Eric Schniter (Chapman)
  • Jonathan Stieglitz (IAST)
  • Richard McElreath (UCD)
  • Ben Trumble (UCSB)
  • Siobhan Mattison (UNM)
  • Martin Muller (UNM)
  • Melissa Emery Thompson (UNM)
  • Chris Rowan (UNM Cardiology)
  • Monique Borgerhoff Mulder (UCD)

Language & Technical Proficiency

  • Japanese,intermediate proficiency
  • Spanish, intermediate proficiency
  • R Statistical Computing Language
  • TeX Publishing System
  • ANSI C Programming Language
  • 6502 Microprocessor Assembly Language
  • *NIX operating systems
  • ArcGIS Computer Mapping Suite
  • Stata Statistical Computing Suite
  • MATLAB Computing Suite
  • Mathematics through Calculus and Linear Algebra


  • Go (weiqui): 5 kyu on Kisedo Go Server
  • Rowing: 650,000 meters rowed
  • Retrocomputing
  • Rock collecting
  • Saxophone Kendo (Japanese fencing)