Santa Fe Institute


Research Themes

Research Projects

Interest Areas

  • Anthropology
  • Evolution of social behavior
  • Phylogenetic Methods and their Applications


Interview with Laura Fortunato

Laura Fortunato

University Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, and Tutorial Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology, Magdalen College, University of Oxford


Laura’s research investigates the evolution of human social organization, focusing on the social norms regulating kinship and marriage. This involves understanding (i) why societies differ with respect to these norms – for example, why some prescribe monogamous marriage, while the majority allow polygyny; and (ii) how this variation came about – for example, whether the prevalence of monogamous marriage among European societies is simply an artefact of history, or whether it reflects ecological and/or social determinants.

To address these puzzles, Laura combines theoretical and statistical methods used in the study of non-human social systems with theory and data from the historical and social sciences, including anthropology, linguistics, and archaeology. Laura holds a laurea in biological sciences from the University of Padova and a PhD in anthropology from University College London.


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