Andrea Migliano


Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7547

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: a.migliano@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 236

Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology
PhD, Biological Anthropology
University of Cambridge, 2005

Evolution of human phenotypic and behavioural diversity, life history theory, hunter-gatherers studies.






Andrea Migliano is a Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University College London. Her academic interests focus on the evolution of human’s adaptations as well as evolutionary theory applied to the origins of human phenotypic diversity, gene-culture co-evolution, as well as adaptations of hunter-gatherers and small scale societies.

She has received a BA in Biology and a MA in Genetics from the University of Sao Paulo (SP- Brazil) and her PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. After her PhD she has received a Junior Research Fellowship from Clare College (Cambridge). She has also received a Research Fellowship from Newham College (Cambridge) to further develop her work in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. During her research years at the University of Cambridge, she has developed long term fieldwork in the Philippines studying hunter-gatherers and in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Currently she is working on the evolution of body size and life history traits in pygmies and other forager populations, as well as in Behavioural Ecology of current hunter-gatherers in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Congo.

Andrea Migliano has joined UCL Anthropology in 2010, when she started the hunter-gatherers research group: Hunter-gatherers Resilience funded by the Leverhulme Research Programme Grant (2011-2016)


Hunter-Gatherers’ Resilience



Hunting and gathering have been the major occupation of humans since Homo sapiens emerged. Although it has been the longest and most diverse bio-cultural adaptation in humanity’s existence, we know very little about the ways in which hunter-gatherers have adapted to pressures and maintained their resilience. Resilience ultimately lies in their capacity of adaptation to an ever changing environment.

Our Leverhulme funded project: Hunter-gatherers Resilience studies hunter gatherers in Congo, The Philippines and Papua New Guinea using behavioural economics, life history theory, theories of cooperation, cultural transmission and genetics to explore how variation in life history traits (age at reproduction, inter-birth intervals menopause and others), kin selection, mate systems, cooperative behaviour (cooperative breeding, cooperative hunting, food sharing, among others), differentially contribute to hunter-gatherer past, present and future resilience.

Behavioural Ecology of Amazonian Populations

The main objective of this project is to understand selective pressures involved in the determination of body size at birth. I am particularly interested in understanding the importance of fatness at birth to the evolution of encephalization, and to the survivorship during weaning. This project was initially funded by FAPESP (Brazil)

Data on Amazonian Babies Birthsize has been collection in Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira (Rio Negro, Brazilian Amazon) and Tefe (Rio Solimoes, Brazilian Amazon).



Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of the Philippines (2002-2003)
Junior Research Fellow, Clare College, University of Cambridge (2007-2010)
Newnham College Gibbs Fellowship, University of Cambridge (2007-2008)
Fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies in Cambridge (from 2009)
Leverhulme Research Programme
: Hunter-gatherers Resilience: Past, Present and Future Adaptations to a World in Transition. £1.7M (2011-2016)
Royal Society Research Grant
: Philippine Hunter-Gatherers £15k (2011-2012)
Newnham College Travel Fellowship
: Pygmies from the Jimmy Valey, Papua New Guinea £12k (2007-2008)
Junior Research Fellowship
, Clare College. £90k (2007-2010)
FAPESP (Brazil).
Evolution of birth size in Amazonian Babies £12k (2000)


Rasmussen M, Guo X, Wang Y, Lohmueller KE, Rasmussen S, Albrechtsen A, Skotte L, Lindgreen S, Metspalu M, Jombart T, Kivisild T, Zhai W, Eriksson A, Manica A, Orlando L, De La Vega FM, Tridico S, Metspalu E, Nielsen K, Ávila-Arcos MC, Moreno-Mayar JV, Muller C, Dortch J, Gilbert MT, Lund O, Wesolowska A, Karmin M, Weinert LA, Wang B, Li J, Tai S, Xiao F, Hanihara T, van Driem G, Jha AR, Ricaut FX, de Knijff P, Migliano AB, Gallego Romero I, Kristiansen K, Lambert DM, Brunak S, Forster P, Brinkmann B, Nehlich O, Bunce M, Richards M, Gupta R, Bustamante CD, Krogh A, Foley RA, Lahr MM, Balloux F, Sicheritz-Pontén T, Villems R, Nielsen R, Wang J, Willerslev E. (2011) An Aboriginal Australian genome reveals separate human dispersals into Asia. Science. 7;334(6052):94-8. (pdf)

Scholes, C., Siddle, K., Ducourneau, A., Crivellaro, F., Järve, M., Rootsi, S., Bellatti, M., Tabbada, K., Mormina, M., Reidla, M., Villems, R., Kivisild, T., Lahr, M. M. and Migliano, A. B. (2011), Genetic diversity and evidence for population admixture in Batak Negritos from Palawan. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 146: 62–72. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21544 (pdf)

Andrea B. Migliano, Lucio Vinicius, and Marta Mirazón Lahr (2010) Why Are Pygmies So Short? A Defense of Migliano's Hypothesis. Human Biology 82 (1), 109-113 (pdf)

Stock J.T. & Migliano A.B., 2009. Stature, mor­tality and life history among indigenous popu­lations of the Andaman Islands, 1871-1986. Curr. Anthrop., 50: 713-725.(pdf)

Migliano, A.B.; Vinicius, L. & Mirazón Lahr, M. (2007) Life-history trade-offs explain the evolution of human pygmies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US.54: 20216-20219. (pdf)

Walker, R., M. Gurven, K. Hill, A.B. Migliano, N. Chagnon, R. D. Souza, G. Djurovic, R. Hames, A. M. Hurtado, H. Kaplan, K. Kramer, W. J. Oliver, C. Valeggia, and T. Yamauchi. 2006. Growth rates and life histories in twenty-two small-scale societies. American Journal of Human Biology 18:295-311. (pdf)


Migliano A.B. (2009) The convergent evolution of African, Asian and Papuan pygmies. Invited speaker to the 55th Brazilian Congress of Genetics

Migliano A.B. (2010) The convergent evolution of African, Asian and Papuan pygmies. Invited speaker to the department of Biology, University of Stanford, California

Migliano A.B. (2009) Biosocial Aspects of Puberty: Natural Selection and Age of First Reproduction in Pygmy Populations Invited speaker to the 8th Joint Meeting LWPES/ESPE (Pediatric and Endocrine Society), New York.

Migliano A.B. & Guillon M. (2011) Evolution of human body size diversity: The relative importance of life history, culture and environment. Wenner-Gren Symposium 143, “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo”, March 4-11,Sintra, Portugal.

Migliano A.B. (2012) Invited speaker to the Theories of Human Evolution at the Turkana Basin Institute on the Turkwel River, Kenya, May 2012. Part of the British Council’s Darwin" Now” network.

Migliano A.B. (2012) Invited speaker to the workshop “Revisiting the 'Negrito' Hypothesis, An Inter-Disciplinary Synthesis of the Prehistory of Southeast Asia” September 3-5, 2012 .The National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France.



Interviewed for the series: The Human Zoo Science's Dirty Little Secret, exhibited by Channel 4 (2009)- Documentary on concepts of race and changes in the views of race over the century. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-y3zbxMXEM&feature=relmfu

Research in the media


SHORT ON STATURE (AND LIFE): The Aeta and other pygmies have the highest mortality rates among all human populations; their small body size evolved as a life history consequence of early death. Image: COURTESY OF RODOLPH SCHLAEPFER

Science Editor’s Choice: Ash, Caroline (January 4, 2008) "Editors' Choice: Highlights of the recent literature: Live Fast, Die Young". Science 319 (5859). doi:10.1126/science.319.5859.13c. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol319/issue5859/twil.dtl

National Geographic (2007) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/071210-pygmy-size.html

The Telegraph (2008) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3317989/Pygmies-life-expectancy-is-between-16-and-24.html

The Economist: Darwin’s Child (2007) http://www.economist.com/node/10283306

The Telegraph (2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5604296/Is-farming-the-root-of-all-evil.html

Nature news (2011) First Aboriginal genome sequenced http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110922/full/news.2011.551.html

The Telegraph (2011) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8783692/Aboriginal-genome-rewrites-history-of-human-migration.html


The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Congo Brazza


Since 2002, I have been working with different groups of Philippine Hunter-Gatherers, and from 2007 in Papua New Guinea, focusing on the evolution of their body sizes and life histories.

More recently, with the support of the Leverhulme Trust, the Hunter-Gatherers Resilience Project, we are working on other aspects of Philippine and Papuan Hunter-Gatherers such as Behaviour, Genetics and Evolution. We have also now started a new Research with Congo pygmies.

PhD, Masters and Undergraduate students have been contributing to the research and developing their dissertation fieldwork in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea