Kristian Boote

Postgraduate Research Student


Kristian was awarded with a BSc in Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Liverpool and then later was awarded an MSc in Palaeoanthropology from the University of Liverpool.

Research Interests

Thesis Title

"Reassessment of the emergence of the 'Obstetric Dilemma', and the emergence of birth assistance behaviours in human evolution"

Kristian's thesis focuses on birth assistance, which has emerged as a near essential feature of human behaviour, yet little has been done to investigate the evolutionary origins of these behaviours in ourselves and other primates. Work by Rosenburg and Trevanthan (e.g. Trevanthan, 1987; Rosenburg, 1992; Trevanthan, 2011) argue that cephalopelvic disproportion and increasing maternal mortality, as a result of the ‘Obstetric Dilemma’, drove the need for birth assistance, unique amongst other social primates (Rosenburg and Trevanthan, 2002). Increasing evidence of birth assistance behaviours in nonhuman primates would appear to contravene this, in terms of a capacity for intentional birth assistance behaviours. I hypothesise that ‘hypercooperative’ birth assistance was already a feature of hominin birthing behaviour, which served as a behavioural buffer that facilitated an increase in cephalopelvic disproportion and difficult birth in later hominins.  By tracing primate socioecological, morphological and physiological evolution, the development of such behaviours in humans can be better understood and explained.