Robin Dunbar read Psychology and Philosophy (PPP) at Magdalen College, Oxford University (1966-1969), and afterwards studied for a PhD in Behavioural Ecology in the Psychology Department at Bristol University (1970-1973). After a period as a postdoc working on primate behavioural ecology, he was awarded an SERC (now BBSRC) University Research Fellowship, which he held in the Zoology Department, Cambridge University (1977-1982), while working on the behavioural ecology of ungulates (primcipally klipspringer in East Africa and feral goats in Scotland) in Sociobiology Project at the King’s College Research Centre.
Subsequently, he held a docent post in the Institute of Zoology, Stockholm University (1984), and a Research Fellowship in the Zoology Department, University of Liverpool (1985-1987), before taking up a lecturership and later a Chair in the Department of Anthropology, University College London (1987-1994). He then held chairs in the Psychology Department (1994-1998) and the School of Biology (1998-2007) at the University of Liverpool, before returning to Oxford as Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology in the School of Anthropology (2007-2012).
His principal research interests are in social evolution in mammals, with particular reference to ungulates, primates and humans), and the ways in which ecology, behaviour, cognition and neurobiology interact. He was Co-Director of the British Academy’s Centenary Research Project “Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain” (2003-2010). He was elected a Fellow of the Psychology Section of the British Academy in 1998.