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Anthropology Faculty

Michael Little  Michael A. Little

   Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
   MA, Pennsylvania State University, 1965
   PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 1968
   Biological anthropologist
   Science 1, Room 102
   Curriculum vitae 340kb

Courses Regularly Taught

ANTH 334 (Comparative Aspects of Human Growth)
ANTH 543 (Seminar in Human Biological Variation)
ANTH 572A (Seminar in History of Biological Anthropology)
[Syllabi are attached for links]

Brief Biography

Michael Little began research as a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University on cold adaptation in the Peruvian Andes in 1962 and conducted studies of high-altitude adaptation in Quechua-speaking natives for about 15 years. In the 1970s, he began collaborating with the social anthropologist, Neville Dyson-Hudson, on ecological research of Turkana pastoral nomads from northwest Kenya. This 20-year project incorporated grazing-lands ecologists, cultural anthropologists, and biological anthropologists in multidisciplinary field investigations of the environment, biology, health, and behavior of these peoples. For the past decade or so, he has pursued historical and biographical investigations into the history of biological anthropology, largely through archival research. He has written or edited seven books and monographs and more than 150 papers, books chapters, and reviews. Throughout his career he has been committed to the promotion of collaborative international research and has served on, or been associated with, several committees linked to the National Academy of Sciences. These include: the International Biological Programme (IBP), UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program (MaB), the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), and the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). For these service activities he was named a National Associate of the National Academies in 2001. He was elected as President of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA, 1991-93) and the Human Biology Association (HBA, 1996-98), and most recently as Chair of Section H, Anthropology, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2010). He is the recipient of the Franz Boas Award from the HBA (2005) and the Charles R. Darwin Award from the AAPA (2007). In 2012, he was honored with a newly-named annual award -- the Michael A. Little Distinguished New Scholar Award -- which was initiated by the Human Biology Association.


Little, M.A., and K.A.R. Kennedy (eds.). 2010. Histories of American Physical Anthropology in the Twentieth Century. Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.

Little, M.A. 2010. Franz Boas's place in American physical anthropology and its institutions.
In: Histories of American Physical Anthropology in the Twentieth Century, ed. by M.A. Little and K.A.R. Kennedy, pp. 55-85. Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.

Little, M.A. and R.W. Sussman. 2010. History of biological anthropology. In: A Companion to Physical Anthropology, ed. by Clark Spencer Larsen, pp. 13-38. Wiley-Blackwell, Malsen, MA.

Little, M.A. and R.M. Garruto. 2010. Raymond Pearl and the shaping of human biology. Human Biology 82(1): 77-102.

Little, M.A. 2010. Geography, migration, climate, and environmental plasticity as contributors to human variation. In: Human Variation - From the Laboratory to the Field, ed. by C.G.N. Mascie-Taylor, A. Yasukouchi, and S.J. Ulijaszek, pp. 157-181. Taylor and Francis, London.

Little, M.A. 2010. History of the study of human biology. In: Human Evolutionary Biology, ed. by M.P. Muehlenbein, pp. 29-47. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Little, M.A., G.D. James, and R.M. Garruto. 2012. Human Biology Association archives at the Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives. American Journal of Human Biology 24(2):253-256.

Johnston, F.E. and M.A. Little. 2012. History of human biology. In: Human Biology: An Evolutionary and Biocultural Approach, 2nd Ed., ed. by S. Stinson, B. Bogin, and D. O'Rourke, pp. 23-50. Wiley-Liss, New York.

Little, M.A. 2012. Human population biology in the second half of the 20th century. Current Anthropology 53 (Suppl. 1): S126-S138.

Little, M.A. In press. Joseph S. Weiner and the foundation of post-WW II human biology in the United Kingdom. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 55.

Last Updated: 4/5/17