UCL Anthropology


Dissertation topics

Your dissertation is based on independent research and thought and should aim to be suitable for publication in a scholarly journal.

Dissertation topics from previous years

Evolutionary Theory
  • An evaluation of the use of phenetic and cladistic methods for analysing different data types
  • An evolutionary analysis of tool using behaviour: a computer simulation of the behaviours of complex life
  • An investigation into factors influencing acceptance of the relevance of evolutionary theory applied to human behaviour
  • Calculating species numbers in extinct Hominoidea
  • Phylogenetic analysis of hominoid behavioural evolution
  • The evolution of the mammalian sex chromosome heteromorphism
  • The expensive tissue hypothesis: the relationship between basal metabolic rate and organ mass
  • A new method for exploring past migratory activity using biological or cultural variation data dispersed in space and time
  • A comparison of non-human primate vocal repertoires
  • A quantitative analysis of gibbon behavioural ecology
  • Activity and association pattern of wild olive baboons at Gashaka, Nigeria: spatial-temporal variation in relation to resource availability
  • Activity budgets of wild troops of white-faced capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica: the influence of age and sex, ecology and human presence
  • Are there sex differences in the use of landmarks and spatial gradients by non-human primates to locate food?
  • Bioacoustical analysis of free-ranging slender loris whistles: function and factors influencing their production
  • Counting the cost: investigating the relationship between expensive infant care and complex mating systems in neotropical primates
  • Duetting in gibbons: territorial defence or female advertising?
  • Growing pains: an investigation into the development of olive baboon infants
  • Handpicked for performance: hand preference in wild olive baboons
  • Heritability of life history and morphological traits in mandrills
  • Infanticide by males in non-human primates: maternal and infant counterstrategies
  • Phylogeny and biogeography of south east Asian primates
  • Playing safe: agonistic interactions and risk-management tactics of oestrous female rhesus macaques
  • Post-conflict behaviour of wild Hanuman langurs
  • Primate lifespan, mortality risk and the disposable soma theory of senescence
  • Primates and the bush meat crisis: does exploitation necessarily mean extinction?
  • Seasonal variation in availability and consumption of army ants by Nigerian chimpanzees
  • Social dynamics of bi-male mountain gorilla groups
  • The development of species-typical communicative behaviours in chimpanzees
  • Food begging and transfer in wild bonobos (Pan paniscus): assessing relationship quality?
  • Sleeping site selection of olive baboons in Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria
  • The effect of reproductive state on the sociality of female olive baboons: evidence from a field study in Nigeria
  • How gregarious are female chimpanzees? Camera-trap aided measurements across four subspecies.
  • Female foraging strategies in Bornean orangutans
Comparative Functional Anatomy
  • A geometric morphometric study into the ontogeny of the subadult gorilla and chimpanzee scapula with relation to locomotion
  • Intra-inter specific variation and sexual dimorphism in the occipital bone and palate of great apes and humans: a geometric morphometric approach
  • Timing of crown formation in molar teeth
  • An analysis of variation in the tibia of great apes and humans: implications for STW 514a and STW 514b
  • Bipedal wading
  • Climate-related variation of the human nasal cavity
  • Comparative positional behaviour in three captive callitrichid species: Leontopithecus chrysomelas, Saguinus imperator and Cebuella pygmaea
  • Encephalisation and the origins of human food processing: food for thought
  • Hominid body mass estimation: a comparison of predictors and methods
  • Human, ape and fossil hominid growth and development
  • Patterns of cranial dimorphism and extended growth in extant hominoid primates: implications for social and reproductive behaviour
  • Sexual dimorphism in the primate innominate bone
  • Taxonomic utility of the fossil hominid basicranium and palate: a comparative 3d morphometric analysis
  • The effect of diet and mandibular gape upon the functional morphology of the Catarrhini temporomandibular joint: an approach using geometric morphometrics
  • The significance of dental roots
  • The significance of eye orbits in human evolution
  • Tools, hands and interpretations: Analysing the hand grips of chimpanzees
  • Does internal bone structure of the humerus reflect locomotor behaviour in extant apes and fossil hominins?
  • Effects of infant carry and play positions on achievement of developmental milestones
  • Getting a grip on the past: trabecular structure in the fifth metacarpal head of extant and fossil hominoids
  • Hand proportions and body mass in primates
  • Inter-specific scaling of articular surface areas in the primate calcaneus
  • One of these sides is not like the other: dental fluctuating asymmetry in four genera of apes
  • Scaling of navicular articular facet size and shape with body mass and intermembral index (IMI) in 51 primate species
  • The functional morphology of the forelimb of Perodicticus potto and Lagothrix lagotricha
  • The root of the matter: dental development in South African hominins, revisited
Palaeoanthropology and Human Evolution
  • Evolutionary rates in hominin posterior teeth
  • Heritability of chimpanzee and human subcortical anatomy
  • A craniometric study of fossil calvaria from the Sima de los Huesos, Atapuerca
  • A morphometric assessment of the Olduvai hominid 48 clavicle
  • Hominid palaeodemography: the Neanderthals
  • The deciduous dentition of Griphopithecus: morphometric analysis of a middle Miocene hominoid
  • A comparative analysis of the proximal pedal phalanges of Homo antecessor
  • A reassessment of the odontometric variation of the Krapina dental assemblage using a cervical margin odontometric method of measurement: an evaluation of the method and statistics employed
  • An analysis of enamel hypoplasias and other dental conditions in an early bronze age 1a population from Bab Edh-dhra, southern Jordan
  • Ecomorphological analysis of extant bovid forelimbs and its applications to fossil bovids from 3 ma Makapansgat, South Africa
  • Hominoid phylogeny: a test using geometric morphometrics
  • Homo ergaster: female philopatry or dispersal?
  • How adoption of a more meat-based diet facilitated and accelerated hominid ranging out of Africa
  • How many species at Pasalar? A study in molar morphology
  • Measuring variation in pattern and degree of craniofacial sexual dimorphism between different modern human populations
  • One foot in the past: the degree of halux abduction of the OH 8 foot
  • Reconstructing the past: an ecological diversity analysis of Olduvai bed II above and below the Lemuta Member
  • The effects of East African lake periods and the broader environmental context on human evolution
  • The muddle in the middle Pleistocene: can the development of the maxilla and canine fossa from birth to adulthood shed new light on the classification of juvenile Atapuerca specimen ATD6-69 as the new species Homo antecessor?
  • The Neanderthal and Homo erectus pelvis in human evolution
  • The Neanderthal mandibular configuration as a diagnostic taxonomic characteristic
  • Was the Levant a refuge for Neanderthals during climatic extremes in Europe?
  • Hominin evolution in phylogenetic context
  • The morphology of the enamel-dentine junction in Neanderthal molars
  • The phylogenetic and functional significance of Orrorin tugenensis, assessed through quantitative analyses of hominoid femoral morphology
Mate Choice, Sex and Reproduction
  • An evolutionary perspective on tactics and preferences in human mate selection: evidence from lonely hearts advertisements
  • Are both food aversions and an increased level of ethnocentrism in the first trimester of pregnancy evolutionary adaptations to protect the developing foetus and its mother?
  • Difference and effects of migration on mate height preference using Japanese and white Caucasian populations
  • Ethnocentricity in pregnancy
  • Facedate: an investigation into the mate choices made on a collection of facial photographs
  • Human mating strategies and their relationship with sexually determined personality traits
  • Investigating patterns of female ovarian cyclicity in semifree-ranging mandrills
  • Male choice: potential male preferences for female external genital morphology
  • Male parental investment and pair bond stability: an empirical test of marriage as a reproductive contract
  • Masturbation in female primates: taxonomic distribution, proximate causes and potential evolutionary functions
  • Masturbation in male primates: taxonomic distribution, proximate causes and potential evolutionary functions
  • Mechanisms and functions of homosexual behaviour: a case study of wild Hanuman langur monkeys
  • Mechanisms and functions of ovulatory desynchronisation in Hanuman langur monkeys
  • Reproductive endocrinology in males in relation to Bangladeshi migration
  • Sexual swelling colour change: the evolution of full colour vision in primates and the accurate analysis of colour
  • Sex, somatype and socioecology: the impact of westernization on body-shape preferences
  • Socio-economic status and testosterone: the trade-off between current and future reproduction in British male
  • The measurement of urinary LH levels using LH detection kits and radioimmunoassays
  • Evolutionary roots of gender differences in risk-seeking behaviour
  • Inferring ancestral marriage and mating strategies in Indo-European societies
  • The evolution of human mate choice: shifting gender ideologies and the impact of the demographic transition on mate choice preferences
  • Tracing the evolution of human homosexuality: evidence for the kin selection hypothesis
Human Behavioural Ecology
  • An evolution of altruistic punishment: do altruistic punishers receive a good reputation, and is this individually beneficial?
  • An evolutionary perspective on intelligence, fertility and unplanned childbirths: a test of predictions in a British cohort
  • Costly signalling in religious groups: the American congregational giving study
  • Differential grandparental investment based on two nationalities (British and Bulgarian), gender and birth order
  • Game-theoretic modelling of paternity certainty and male provisioning strategies: a theoretical model and its application to hominid reproductive energetics
  • Grandmothering in evolutionary perspective: a dynamic model of population growth
  • Testing the grandmothering hypothesis: the provisioning of Homo erectus infants and juveniles.
  • The roles of phylogenesis and ethnogenesis in the development of Turkmen woven assemblages: a case study in the evolution of cultural diversification
  • Cooperation under conflict: an example involving neighbourhoods in Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Gift-giving in Mbendjele hunter-gatherers: an investigation into the adaptive origins of cooperation
  • Gossip games: The co-evolution of cooperation and communication
  • Kinship in Sino-Tibetan language family: a comparative phylogenetic approach
  • Sharing is not caring: an agent-based model of selfish food distribution and consumption patterns
  • Warfare in human evolution: an ethnographic approach
Applied Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Social desirability bias: The effect of interface design on the discourse of health-related information
  • The evolutionary salesman: submissive behaviour enhances compliance in persuasive communication
  • Kin residency, sexual conflict and lateral pressures on fertility desires, behaviours and outcomes in Tanzania
  • Altruism in London: deprivation as an indicator
Evolutionary Medicine
  • The evolution of short stature and life history in the extinct Barrinean pygmies
  • Maternal nutrition and sex ratio biases in Ethiopia
  • Fear for your life: an empirical study of evolutionary hypotheses of OCD and anxiety in relation to risk-avoidance and accident proneness
  • An investigation into evolutionary explanations of the type ii diabetes epidemic: the role of physical activity levels
  • Human genetic adaptation to high elevation-the potential role of genetic polymorphisms in Ethiopian populations
  • The genealogical relationship of y-chromosomes in the Sakya of Bangladesh, Nepal and northeast India
  • The history of tuberculosis in human populations: inferences from the Nrampi gene
  • Y chromosome genetic history of eastern Mediterranean and Transcaucasian populations; implications for the Neolithic population growth and the genetic affinities of Cypriot populations