Centre for Research in Evolutionary, Social and Inter-Disciplinary Anthropology (CRESIDA)

Image -  Centre for Research in Evolutionary, Social and Inter-Disciplinary Anthropology (CRESIDA)

Research in the Centre for Research in Evolutionary, Social and Inter-Disciplinary Anthropology (CRESIDA) covers a diverse range of topics, including health and well-being, human-animal relations, tourism, human ecology, primate morphology and behaviour. In addition to work situated within evolutionary or social anthropology and at the interface of these sub-fields, our research projects transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries - bringing new anthropological approaches and thinking to areas such as public health, wildlife conservation, astrobiology, linguistics and psychiatry. Our work has significant impacts within and outside academia, and we are committed to ensuring that the benefits of our research are realised in the wider world. CRESIDA has a strong and vibrant research environment, and we warmly welcome enquiries from prospective research students and postdocs.

For more information on the Centre, please check out our Anthroehampton blog. To keep up to date with the Centre's activities, you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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CRESIDA's Garry Marvin and a multi-university team have been awarded a £1.5 million grant from the Wellcome Trust

Signs stating ‘Do not feed the animals’ are ubiquitous in zoos, national parks and urban spaces. They stress that uncontrolled feeding by people can affect animal health, alter wild animal behaviour and create public hygiene and nuisance issues. However, humans appear to have a deep-rooted disposition to feed animals. 

This project will look at our geological history and undertake a cross-cultural investigation to uncover the roots of animal feeding and critique the benefits/risks for all concerned. Particularly, it will test the hypothesis that animal domestication itself was driven by the human penchant for animal feeding and that this process is not just continuing but accelerating, with consequences for global human-animal-environmental health. 

The interdisciplinary team is led by Professor Naomi Sykes, a zooarchaeologist from the University of Exeter, and brings together the University of Roehampton’s Professor Garry Marvin and other partners from the University of Reading and the National Museums Scotland. It includes experts in the fields of zooarchaeology, health and rural policy, feline osteology and comparative pathology, environmental geochemistry and anthropology. Garry will be responsible for the anthropological aspects of the project.

New CRESIDA study on virtual substitutes for social interactions in a time of coronavirus

Human beings are social animals who rely heavily on face-to-face interactions and touch to deal with everyday stresses. Socially well-connected individuals are healthier, live longer and are generally less stressed. However, due to the social restrictions engendered by the Covid-19 pandemic, most people are suddenly cut off from physical contact with their friends and must rely on virtual interactions for social supports. But to what extent can virtual interactions provide the same benefits as in-person interactions?

This question forms the focus of a new questionnaire study by Julia Lehmann and Colette Berbesque. As little is known of how effective virtual contacts are in the long run and in the absence of actual face-to-face contact, the current crisis provides an ideal ‘experimental setting’ in which to study questions like this, which would otherwise be impossible and unethical to address. They are ultimately hoping to assess stress levels of study participants via hair sample analysis.