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Patricio D. Cruz y Celis Peniche


  • 2021 - M.A. Evolutionary Anthropology, University of California, Davis
  • 2017 - B.A. Indigenous Development Studies (Gestión y Autodesarrollo Indígena), Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, Mexico
  • 2015 - Exchange semester, Anthropology department, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque


I was trained in applied and cultural anthropology, and I’m now interested in incorporating evolutionary theory and quantitative methods to understand human behavioral and cultural diversity.

I am broadly interested in how modernization is influencing the behavioral strategies and cultural dynamics of traditionally small-scale and self-sufficient populations in Latin America. 

Advisor: Dr. Cristina Moya

Research Focus

Specific research interests include edible insect foraging traditions among agricultural and horticultural groups, and dynamics of cooperation and religious conversion among Catholic and Protestant groups.

Most of my field experience has been among Tsotsil and Tseltal Mayan communities from the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

Research lines: Human behavioral ecology, optimal foraging theory, entomophagy, cultural transmission theory, evolution of cooperation and religiosity

Selected Publications

Moya, C., Cruz y Celis, P., Kline, M.A., & Smaldino, P.E. (2020). Dynamics of behavior change in the COVID world. American Journal of Human Biology, 32 (3): e23485. [LINK].

Cruz y Celis, P. (2018). La domesticación y crianza de insectos comestibles: una línea de investigación poco explorada y con gran potencial para el desarrollo sostenible y la seguridad alimentaria en México (Edible insect domestication and farming: an under-explored line of research with great potential for sustainable development and food security in Mexico). Folia Entomológica Vol. 4 (2): 66-79. [PDF]. 

Cruz y Celis, P. (2017). La Entomofagia en Chiapas: relevancia, estado y potencial (Entomophagy in Chiapas: relevance, current state, and potential). Undergraduate dissertation. Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, Chiapas, México [PDF].


2021 - H. Russel Bernard Graduate Student Paper Prize [Society for Anthropological Sciences]

2020 - Graduate Student Fellowship, Consequences of Formal Education for Science and Religion / Culture of Schooling Meta-Project [Templeton Foundation / University of Texas, Austin]

2019 - Provost's Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences [University of California, Davis]

2019 - Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship  [The U.S. - Mexico Commission for Educational & Cultural Exchange / United States Department of State]