Mark Collard



Professor Collard joined SFU in 2007, after stints at University College London, Washington State University, and the University of British Columbia. Currently, he is the Canada Research Chair in Human Evolutionary Studies and a full Professor in the Department of Archaeology. He also holds a part-time Chair in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and adjunct positions at several institutions, including the University of the Witswatersrand, South Africa, Uppsala University, Sweden, and George Washington University, USA.

Professor Collard’s training is in archaeology and biological anthropology, and he has published extensively in both of these fields, as well as on topics that fall under the purview of sociocultural anthropology. Much of his research in the last decade has focused on the ways in which humans and other hominins have been affected by, and adapted to, environmental conditions. Currently, he and his trainees are using historical data and time series analysis to investigate the impact of climate change on the frequency of warfare in non-industrial populations over the long term.

Professor Collard is involved in two major interdisciplinary undertakings at the moment. One is the SFU Human Evolutionary Studies Program (HESP). Established in May of 2011, HESP is a five-year initiative that is designed to stimulate collaborative interaction among researchers who are based at SFU and interested in human evolution. Dr. Collard is the director of the program. The other major interdisciplinary initiative is the Cultural Evolution of Religion Consortium (CERC). The goal of CERC is to use cross-cultural experimental and historical data to test the hypothesis that religious behaviour evolved, and is maintained, because it fosters intra-group cooperation and therefore allows some groups to outcompete other groups. Prof. Collard is one of the co-PIs on the grant and is a member of the Consortium’s four-person Executive Committee.