Skip to main content

Richerson, Peter J. 1943-

Richerson, Peter J. 1943-


Born October 11, 1943; son of Orlando Chester and Catherine (Haughawout) Richerson; married Lois Annette Callaghan, February 12, 1978 (divorced, 2005); married Lesley Newson, March 26, 2006; children: (first marriage) Scott, Kate. Education: University of California, Davis, B.S., 1965, Ph.D., 1969.


Home—210 Full Cir., Davis, CA 95618. Office—Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, 3146A Wickson Hall, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616. E-mail—[email protected]


University of California, Davis, postdoctoral researcher, 1969-71; assistant professor, 1971-77, associate professor, 1977-83, professor, 1983-2006, distinguished professor of environmental science and policy, 2006—, associate director of Institute of Ecology, 1977-80, director, 1983-90. Visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley, 1977-78, at Duke University, 1984, and at Exeter University, 2004; visiting fellow, Neurosciences Institute, 1984, and University of Bielefeld, 1991. Limnology advisor for local government.


Human Behavior and Evolution Society (treasurer, 1999-2005), Society for Human Ecology (president, 1994-95), Limnology and Oceanography, American Society of Naturalists, Ecological Society of America, International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Davis Faculty Association (member of board of directors), Alpha Zeta, Phi Beta Kappa.


Guggenheim fellow, 1984; J.I. Staley Prize (with R. Boyd) for contributions to the human sciences, 1989; commendation for research and service, Lake County Board of Supervisors, 2001; fellow, California Academy of Sciences, 2006.



(Editor, with Charles R. Goldman and James McEvoy III) Environmental Quality and Water Development, W.H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1973.

(Editor, with James McEvoy III) Human Ecology: An Environmental Approach, Duxbury Press (North Scituate, MA), 1976.

(With Robert Boyd) Culture and the Evolutionary Process, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

(With Robert Boyd) The Origin and Evolution of Cultures, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Robert Boyd) Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2005.

Member of editorial boards, Human Ecology Review and Journal of Bioeconomics.


Peter J. Richerson has frequently collaborated with Robert Boyd on scholarly works concerning culture and evolution. Their first book intended for a general readership was Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution. In this study, Richerson and Boyd argue that in order to fully understand human behavior, one must take into account the socially transmitted aspects of human culture as well as the biological factors that have an impact on human behavior. This stance represents a middle ground between the anticultural bias of the evolutionary psychologists and the antievolutionary position of certain social scientists. Alex Mesoudi, a contributor to the Quarterly Review of Biology, felt that the book deserved praise for "its attempt to bridge not only the natural and the social sciences, but also different disciplines within the social sciences." Mesoudi found Not by Genes Alone a highly accessible work, illustrated with "fascinating" case studies. Don Brothwell, a reviewer for Antiquity, noted that the authors' subject "is relatively neglected, and is rarely as well debated as it is here." He recommended the work as "very thought provoking."



Antiquity, December, 2005, Don Brothwell, review of Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, p. 954.

Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2005, Alex Mesoudi, review of Not by Genes Alone, p. 506.


Peter J. Richerson Faculty Home Page, (July 21, 2006), biographical information on Peter J. Richerson.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Richerson, Peter J. 1943-." Contemporary Authors. . 22 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Richerson, Peter J. 1943-." Contemporary Authors. . (January 22, 2019).

"Richerson, Peter J. 1943-." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved January 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.