Dr. Holly Dunsworth

Holly Dunsworth is a biological anthropologist at the University of Rhode Island where she teaches with new and original approaches aimed at overturning evolutionary misconceptions and outdated evolutionary dogma that students bring to college. Although she began her career as a paleoanthropologist, she has a broad background that carries her interests beyond the fossil record.

At the early Miocene sites on Rusinga Island, Kenya, she has performed paleontological research where ancient fossil apes are preserved, but she’s turned her focus to living primates including, of course, humans.

She is particularly interested in how the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral traits related to making, growing, and raising offspring evolved, how we narrate that evolutionary history, and how our narratives (some of which are flawed, like the “obstetrical dilemma” and the notion that men are specially built for competition) impact culture and society.

Recent Publications

Dunsworth, HM. 2020. Expanding the evolutionary explanations for sex differences in the human skeleton. Evolutionary Anthropology 29108– 116.
Norton HL, et al. 2019. Human races are not like dog breeds: Refuting a racist analogy. Evolution: Education and Outreach 12, Article number 17.
Dunsworth HM. 2018. There is no ‘obstetrical dilemma’: Towards a braver medicine with fewer childbirth interventions. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61(2): 249-263.
Patel B, Organ J, Jashashvili T, Bui S, and HM Dunsworth. 2018. Ontogeny of hallucal metatarsal rigidity and shape in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) and common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Anatomy 232(1): 39–53.
Dunsworth HM. 2017. How Donald Trump Got Human Evolution Wrong. Washington Post
Dunsworth HM and A Buchanan. 2017. Sex makes babies. Aeon Magazine August 9, 2017