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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 mixed methods to understand human behavioral and cultural diversity.

I am broadly interested in how modernization is influencing the behavioral strategies and cultural dynamics of rural and indigenous 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 (insects as food); cultural transmission theory, cultural evolution of religion, religious conversions in Latin America.

Selected Publications

Cruz y Celis Peniche, P. (2021). Drivers of insect consumption across human populations. Evolutionary Anthropology, Vol. 31(1): 45-59.  [LINK]

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

Cruz y Celis Peniche, P. (2018). La domesticación y crianza de insectos comestibles (Edible insect domestication and farming). Folia Entomológica Mexicana (Nueva Serie), Vol. 4(2): 66-79. [LINK]. 


2022 - NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant [National Science Foundation]

2021 - NSF 'Cultural Anthropology Methods Program' (CAMP) Fellowship [National Science Foundation]

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 [Issachar Fund / 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]