Participating Faculty

Courtney Meehan

Courtney Meehan

Department:Department of Anthropology
Credentials:2005~Washington State University
Mailing Address:PO Box 4910
Pullman, WA 99164-4910

Research Interests

The evolution of human childhood, maternal reproductive strategies, human cooperative breeding, child development, and family health.

Research Summary

The broad objective of my research program is to investigate how the evolution of human childhood has shaped maternal life history strategies. I am currently examining the role of human cooperative breeding on child physical and socioemotional development, and maternal reproductive strategies. Human females give birth to altricial offspring, wean early (in comparison to other apes), and “stack” dependent offspring. My research investigates how the evolution of human prosociality and cooperative breeding buffer maternal life history tradeoffs. Recent projects have focused on how social networks and allomothers (non-maternal caregivers) effect parental investment, maternal energy expenditure, child growth and parental nutritional status, emotional development in infancy and childhood as well as the socioecological factors influencing lactation and breastfeeding patterns. I conduct cross-cultural research in the Central African Republic. I work with the Aka tropical forest foragers and several horticultural populations in and on the periphery of the Congo Basin rain forest. Funding for my research has come from the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation.

Research Publications

Meehan, Courtney L. Allomothers and Child Well-Being. In Ben-Arieh, Asher, Casas, Ferran, Frones, Ivar. and Korbin, Jill E. (Eds.) Handbook of Child Well-Being. Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective. Dorcrecht: Springer. (In Press)

Meehan, Courtney L., Robert Quinlan, and Courtney Malcom 2013 Cooperative Breeding and Maternal Energy Expenditure among Aka Foragers. American Journal of Human Biology, 25(1):42-57.

Meehan, Courtney L. 2009 Maternal Time Allocation in Two Cooperative Childrearing Societies. Human Nature 20(4): 375-393.

Meehan, Courtney L. 2008 Allomaternal Investment and Relational Uncertainty among the Ngandu Farmers of the Central African Republic. Human Nature, 19:211-226.

Meehan, Courtney L. 2005 The Effects of Residential Locality on Parental and Alloparental Care among the Aka Foragers of the Central African Republic, Human Nature, 16 (1) 58-80.

Washington State University