Tanya M. Smith

Professor, Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution
Griffith University

Gold Coast, QLD

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Providing an expert opinion
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


I am a Professor in the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution and the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research at Griffith University. I previously held a professorship at Harvard University and fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. I received my doctorate in Anthropological Sciences from Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY, USA) in 2004. My research explores the evolution and development of the human dentition. Teeth preserve remarkably faithful records of daily growth and infant diet - as well as stress experienced during birth - for millions of years. This has helped us to identify of the origins of a fundamental human adaptation: the costly yet advantageous shift from a 'live fast and die young' strategy to the 'live slow and grow old' strategy that has helped to make humans one of the most successful mammals on the planet. My research has been funded by the Australian Academy of Science and the US National Science Foundation, and has been published in Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. It has been highlighted in the New York Times, National Geographic, Nature, Science, Smithsonian, and Discovery magazines, as well as through American, Australian, British, Canadian, French, Irish, German, and New Zealand broadcast media. My first popular science book, The Tales Teeth Tell, was published by MIT Press in 2018.

Tanya M. identifies as lgbtqia+.