UCL Anthropology

Dr Mark Dyble

Dr Mark Dyble

Lecturer in Quantitative Anthropology

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2019

Research summary

I am an evolutionary anthropologist with broad interests relating to social organisation and the evolution of social behaviour. 

My empirical research has involved quantitative ethnographic fieldwork with Agta foraging communities in the Philippines and with fishing communities in the Brazilian Pantanal. I have also worked on the social behaviour of meerkats in the Kalahari. Specific empirical questions I have worked on include:

  • what happens during meerkat inter-group interactions? [LINK]
  • how much leisure time to Agta foragers have? [LINK]
  • what are the patterns of food sharing within Agta bands? [LINK]
  • what is the kinship structure of hunter-gatherer bands? [LINK] & [LINK]

In my theoretical work, I use computational and mathematical models to explore questions such as:

  • what is the impact of sex equality in residential decision making on the relatedness structure of groups? [LINK]
  • can inclusive fitness theory explain cooperation among affinal kin (in-laws)? [LINK]
  • do existing models of the coevolution of altruism and war in humans make realistic assumptions about population structure?  [LINK]
  • what factors influence the relatedness structure of animal groups? [LINK]
  • under what conditions could natural selection favour indiscriminate altruism toward groupmates? [LINK]

I also work with my UCL colleague Dr Rafael Chiaravalloti exploring variation in the relative importance of what we describe as 'social' versus 'management' rules across socio-ecological systems. See here and here.

Questions I am currently working on include:

  • could an avoidance of local kin competition explain variation in human marital exchange (e.g. dowry, vs bridewealth)?
  • what role does polygyny play in explaining variation in average within-group relatedness across mammals? 
  • to what extent can kin selection and group selection be empirically disentangled?

My main collaborators to date have been Dr Abigail Page (LSHTM), Dr Daniel Smith (Bristol), Prof Andrea Migliano (Zurich), Dr Rafael Chiaravalloti (UCL), and Prof Tim Clutton-Brock (Cambridge).

See my GoogleScholar for a full list of publications.


Teaching summary

I teach or have taught on the following modules (*indicates what I am teaching in 22-23)


Methods and Techniques in Biological Anthropology (ANTH0007)

Introduction to Biological Anthropology (ANTH0008)

Being Human (ANTH0015)*

Human Behavioural Ecology (ANTH0044)

Anthropological Research Methods (ANTH0213)*


Research Methods in Evolutionary Anthropology (ANTH0114)

Advanced Methods in Evolutionary Anthropology (ANTH0115)*

Human Behavioural Ecology (ANTH0044)

I also supervise BSc, MSc, and PhD projects. Feel free to contact me for supervision enquiries.



BA Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2008-2011)

MSc Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford (2011-2012)

PhD Anthropology, UCL (2013-2016)


Academic posts:

Postdoctoral Research Associate, UCL (2016)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (2016-2017)

Research Fellow, Jesus College Cambridge (2017-2019)

Lecturer, UCL Anthropology (2019-present)

I am currently the Departmental Tutor for UCL Anthropology.