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Margaret Crofoot


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Harvard University, 2008
  • A.M., Anthropology, Harvard University, 2003
  • B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University, 2001


Margaret Crofoot is a behavioral ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She is a member of a number of professional societies including the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the International Primatological Society, and the Animal Behavior Society, and serves on the Executive Board of the ICARUS Initiative (International Collaboration for Animal Research Using Space).

Research Focus

Meg is interested in the evolution of complex social systems and, specifically, understanding how collective (group) behaviors emerge from interactions among individuals, and how group traits impact individual fitness. She uses remote tracking technology in conjunction with field-based experiments and observational methods to explore group movement and decision-making, coordinated territorial defense, and other collective behaviors in primate social groups.

Selected Publications

  • Strandburg-Peshkin, A., Farine, D., Couzin, I., & Crofoot, M. C. (2015) Shared decision making drives collective movement in wild baboons. Science. 348(6241): 1358-61.
  • Kays, R., Crofoot, M. C., Jetz, W., & Wikelski, M. (2015) Terrestrial animal tracking as an eye on life and the planet. Science. 348(6240): aaa2478.
  • Crofoot, M. C. (2013) The cost of defeat: Capuchins groups travel further, faster and later after losing conflicts with neighbors. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 152(1): 79-85.
  • Crofoot, M. C., & Gilby, I. C. (2012) Cheating monkeys undermine group strength in enemy territory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(2): 501-505.
  • Crofoot, M. C., Gilby, I. C., Wikelski, M. C., & Kays, R. W. (2008) Interaction location outweighs the competitive advantage of numerical superiority in Cebus capucinus intergroup contests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(2): 577-581.


Analysis of Animal Movement (ECL 290); Animal Movement in the Anthropocene, (ECL 290); Primate Sociobiology, (ANT 254); Primate Behavior and Ecology (Ant 154C/CL); Behavioral and Evolutionary Biology of the Human Life Cycle (Ant 15)



  • 2016 Provost’s Fellowship for Diversity in Teaching— University of California, Davis
  • 2016 Faculty Development Award—University of California, Davis
  • 2016 Social Sciences Dean’s Innovation Award—University of California, Davis