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Meredith Small

Professor Emerita

Mcgraw Hall, Room 208
ms32@cornell.edu
267-466-7411

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1980

Overview

Meredith F. Small was trained as a primate behaviorist and spent many years observing various species of macaques in captivity and in the wild. Her primatology focused on female mating behavior, alloparental care, and biological and physiological measure of reproductive success. Today, Dr. Small is interesting in the intersection of biology and culture and the evolution of human behavior. For the past few years she has focused on how biology and culture influence parenting styles. Although Dr. Small has published widely in academic journals, she currently works most often with the popular media. She is the author of four trade books, and she is a regular contributor for Discover, Natural History Magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others. Her articles cover a wide range of topic from chimpanzee hunting to family structure among the Bari of Venezuela. Small is also a commentator for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

Departments/Programs

  • Anthropology

Research

  • macaques in captivity and in the wild
  • female mating behavior 
  • alloparental care
  • biological and physiological measure of reproductive success
  • the intersection of biology and culture
  • the evolution of human behavior
  • how biology and culture influence parenting styles

Publications

Academic Articles

  • 2003 How Many Fathers Are Best for a Child?. Discover 24(4):54-61.
  • 2002 Mother's Little Helpers. New Scientist 176(2372):44-49.
  • 2002 So Near and Yet So Far. Natural History 111(5):76-78.
  • 2002 String Theory. Natural History 111(3):14-16.
  • 2002 The Happy Fat. New Scientist 175(2357):34-39.
  • 2002 What You Can Learn From Drunk Monkeys. Discover 23(7):40-46.
  • 2001 Do Animals Have Culture?. Scientific American 284(4):104-106.

Books

  • 2001 Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Our Children. New York: Doubleday.