1981 Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Davis
1978 M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Davis
1975 B.A., Anthropology with honors, Pitzer College, Claremont Colleges
Dr. Joan Silk is a professor in the Department of Anthropology as well as with ISG. She is interested in how natural selection shapes the evolution of social behavior in primates. Her research has focused on the behavioral and reproductive strategies of female baboons (Papio cynocephalus, P. ursinus). Recent work documents the adaptive benefits females derive from close social bonds.
Silk is particularly interested in questions that explicitly link studies of nonhuman primates to humans. Experimental work conducted with chimpanzees and children focuses on the phylogenetic origins and ontogenetic development of prosocial preferences.