Matt Cartmill


cartmillOffice: 232 Bay State Road, #101A
Office Phone: 617-358-5488

Spring 2020: W: 12:00-3:00

“As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life—so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.”
—Matt Cartmill

With a distinguished reputation as a leading scholar in biological anthropology, Dr. Matt Cartmill joined our department in 2008 with the long-term goal of building a world-class biological anthropology program at Boston University. He has published more than a hundred scholarly and popular works on the evolution of people and other animals and on the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology. Well known for his revolutionary analyses of the origins and early evolution of the ancestral primates, he has also made innovative contributions to scientific thinking about the origins and relationships of higher primates, prosimian anatomy, early hominin adaptations, quadrupedal locomotion, cranial evolution, and the philosophy of science. His award-winning 1993 book, A View to a Death in the Morning, is a witty and thoughtful dissection of the cultural assumptions behind the hunting hypothesis in human evolution. He is the co-author (with F. H. Smith) and illustrator of The Human Lineage, a comprehensive new (2009) survey of human evolution. The recipient of numerous awards for his research, writing, and teaching, Dr. Cartmill is a Guggenheim and AAAS Fellow, a former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, a founding co-editor of the International Journal of Primatology, and the former editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

While known among faculty for his wide-ranging knowledge—among other topics, he is an expert on animation—he is perhaps best known to his students for his vibrant sense of humor. BU offers undergrads a rare opportunity to take classes from such a world-class professor. If you are lucky, you may catch him teaching AN 102 in future years.

View Professor Cartmill’s CV


  • AN 337 Creation and Evolution
  • AN 550 Human Skeleton
  • AN 331 Human Origins
  • AN 705 Proseminar in Biological Anthropology


BA Pomona College
MA University of Chicago
PhD University of Chicago

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