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Eva Brandl

Research staff

Abteilung für Verhalten, Ökologie und Kultur des Menschen
Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

Telefon: +49 (0) 341 3550 760
E-Mail: eva_brandl@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

I am an anthropologist with a background in social and evolutionary anthropology, including behavioural ecology and cultural evolution. Broadly, I am interested in kinship, marriage, childrearing, and child development, which I investigate using biocultural and mixed-methods approaches. My regional specialty is on Melanesia and the South Pacific; my field work has focused on rural areas of Vanuatu. My doctoral work examined cultural influences on child development in Vanuatu and, more broadly, topics related to the cultural evolution of cognition and learning. I also did research on child circulation and residence arrangements. My postdoctoral research examines customary marriage exchanges such as bride price – how they evolve, how they affect women’s status, and how they are changing under modernization.

I am a member of the BirthRites independent research group.


2021 PhD Biological Anthropology 
Department of Anthropology,
University College London 
2016MPhil Social Anthropology 
School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography,
University of Oxford
2014BA Comparative Religion                      
Interfaculty Programme for the Study of Religion,
Ludwig Maximilians University  Munich, with a year abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Im Druck

Brandl, E., Micheletti, A., & Mace, R. (in press). Was ist eigentlich Kulturevolution? In M. Hammerl, S. Schwarz, & K. Willführ (Eds.), Evolutionäre Sozialwissenschaften. Springer.


Brandl, E., & Colleran, H. (2024). Does bride price harm women? Using ethnography to think about causality. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 6: e29, pp. 1-22.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Micheletti, A., Brandl, E., Zhang, H., Peacey, S., & Mace, R. (2023). Cultural evolution research needs to include human behavioural ecology. In A. du Crest (Ed.), Evolutionary thinking across disciplines: Problems and perspectives in generalized Darwinism (pp. 501-528). Springer.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Brandl, E., Mace, R., & Heyes, C. (2023). The cultural evolution of teaching. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 5: e14.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Brandl, E., Emmott, E. H., & Mace, R. (2023). Development of teaching in ni-Vanuatu children. Child Development, 94(6), 1713-1729.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Brandl, E., Emmott, E., & Mace, R. (2023). Adoption, fostering and parental absence in Vanuatu. Human Nature, 34(3), 422-455.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Micheletti, A. J. C., Brandl, E., & Mace, R. (2022). What is cultural evolution anyway? Behavioral Ecology, 33(4), 667-669.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Whitehouse, H., Turchin, P., Francois, P., Hoyer, D., Nugent, S. [et al, including Brandl, E.] (2022). Big Gods and Big Science: Further reflections on theory, data, and analysis. Religion, Brain and Behavior.

Larson, J., Turchin, P., Whitehouse, H., Francois, P. , Hoyer, D., Nugent, S. [et al, including Brandl, E.] (2022). Explaining the rise of moralizing religions: A test of competing hypotheses using the SESHAT databank. Religion, Brain and Behavior.


Brandl, E. (2019). Survey of late complexity societies. In: D. Hoyer and J. Reddish (eds.): The SESHAT History of the Axial Age. Beresta Books


Currie, T. E. , Turchin, P., Whitehouse, H., Francois, P. , Feeney, K., Mullins, D., Hoyer, D. [et al, including Brandl, E.] (2018). Reply to Tosh et al: Quantitative analyses of cultural evolution require engagement with historical and archaeological research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Turchin, P., Currie, T. E., Whitehouse, H., Francois, P. , Feeney, K., Mullins, D., Hoyer, D. [et al, including Brandl, E.] (2017). Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.