Dr Paula Sheppard

paula sheppard


Departmental Lecturer in Biocultural Anthropology


Primary research Interests: Evolutionary medicine, human behavioural ecology, applied anthropology, and family demography.

I have a background in evolutionary anthropology and family demography and received my PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2014 from the Department of Population Health. I am broadly interested in parental investment and socioeconomic inequalities in health and my thesis research mainly tried to understand the impact of childhood deprivation and father absence on children's life history outcomes, across different populations. My current research interests lie in taking an ecological approach to understanding individual reproductive decision-making and applying an evolutionary perspective to better understand issues of individual and public health.

I am the secretary of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association

Selected publications

Sheppard, P. and K. Snopkowski (eds.) (2021) The Behavioral Ecology of the Family. Special Issue in Social Sciences.

Sheppard, Paula. 2021. ‘Grandparental Investment’. In The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Parenting, edited by Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford and Todd Kennedy Shackelford. Oxford University Press.

Sheppard, Paula, and Zachary Van Winkle. 2020. ‘Using Sequence Analysis to Test If Human Life Histories Are Coherent Strategies’. Evolutionary Human Sciences 2. https://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2020.38.

Sheppard, Paula, Mark Pearce, and Rebecca Sear. 2016. ‘How Does Childhood Socioeconomic Hardship Affect Reproductive Strategy? Pathways of Development’. American Journal of Human Biology 28 (3): 356–63.

Sheppard, Paula, Justin R Garcia, and Rebecca Sear. 2015. ‘Childhood Family Disruption and Adult Height: Is There a Mediating Role of Puberty?’ Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health 2015 (1): 332–42.


Current DPhil students