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Department of Anthropology

Program in
Human Ecology and Archaeobiology

Research Interests

Bruce D. Smith has been a Curator of North American Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology, NMNH, since 1978. His primary geographical area of interest is eastern North America, and his general research interests have centered on human-environmental interaction (CV, PNAS profile). 

Since 1985 his research and writing have largely focused on the origins of agriculture, a major evolutionary transition in human history. Smith has documented the transition from hunting and gathering to food production in eastern North America (ENA Research topic link, 2006 ENA PNAS, 2009 Riverton), and reanalyzed early domesticated plant remains from Mesoamerica (Mesoamerica Research Topic Link, 1997 Ocampo Caves LAA, 1997 C. Pepo Science, 2005 Coxcatlan Cave PNAS),

(continued on Smith Research Page)

Links—Recent Publications in PDF

  • Smith CV.

  • Smith, Bruce D.
  • 2016 Neo-Darwinism, Niche Construction Theory, and the Initial Domestication of Plants and Animals. Evolutionary Ecology 30(2):307-324.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2015 A Comparison of Niche Construction Theory and Diet Breadth Models as Explanatory Frameworks for the Initial Domestication of Plants and Animals. Journal of Archaeological Research doi/10.1007/s10814-015-9081-4.
  • da Fonseca, R.R., B.D. Smith, N. Wales, E. Cappellini, P. Skoglund, M. Fumagalli, J.A. Samaniego, C. Carøe, M.C. Ávila-Arcos, D.E. Hufnagel, T.S. Korneliussen, F.G. Vieira, M. Jakobsson, B. Arriaza, E. Willerslev, R. Nielsen, M.B. Hufford, A. Albrechtsen, J. Ross-Ibarra, and M.T. Gilbert.
    2015 The Origin and Evolution of Maize in the Southwestern United States. Nature Plants 1(1). doi/10.1038/nplants.2014.3.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2014 Letter: Failure of Optimal Foraging Theory to Appeal to Researchers Working on the Origins of Agriculture Worldwide. PNAS doi/10.1073/pnas.1408208111.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2014 The Domestication of Helianthus annuus L. (Sunflower). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 23:57-74.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2013 Modifying Landscapes and Mass Kills: Human Niche Construction and Communal Ungulate Harvests. Quaternary International 297:8-12. doi:10.1007/s13752-012-0028-4
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2012 A Cultural Niche Construction Theory of Initial Domestication. Biological Theory 6(3):1-12. doi:10.1007/s13752-012-0028-4
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2011 General Patterns of Niche Construction and the Management of 'Wild Plant' and Animals Resources by Small-scale Pre-industrial Societies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences 366:836–848. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0253
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2009 Resource Resilience, Human Niche Construction, and the Long-Term Sustainability of Pre-Columbian Subsistence Economies in the Mississippi River Valley Corridor. Journal of Ethnobiology 29(2):167-183. doi: 10.2993/0278-0771-29.2.167
  • Zeder, Melinda A., and Bruce D. Smith
    2009 A Conversation on Agricultural Origins. Talking Past Each Other in a Crowded Room. Current Anthropology 50(5):681-691.
  • Smith, Bruce D, and Richard A. Yarnell
    2009 Initial Formation of an Indigenous Crop Complex in Eastern North America at 3800 B.P. PNAS 106(16):6561-6566. doi:10.1073/pnas.0901846106
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2009 Core Conceptual Flaws in Human Behavioral Ecology. Communicative & Integrative Biology 2(6):1-2.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2007 The Ultimate Ecosystem Engineers. Science 315(30):1797-1798.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2007 Niche Construction and and the Behavioral Context of Plant and Animal Domestication. Evolutionary Anthropology 16:188-199.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2006 Eastern North America as an Independent Center of Plant Domestication. PNAS 103(33):12223–12228.
  • Zeder, M.A.; Bradley, D.G.; Emshwiller, E.; and Smith, B.D.
    2006 Seed Size Increase as a Marker of Domestication in Squash (Cucurbita pepo). In Documenting Domestication, New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms, pp. 25-31. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Zeder, M.A., D.G. Bradley, E. Emshwiller, and B.D. Smith
    2006 Documenting Domesticated Plants in the Archaeological Record. In Documenting Domestication, New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms, pp. 15-24. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Zeder, M.A., D.G. Bradley, E. Emshwiller, and B.D. Smith
    2006 Bringing Together Plants, Animals, Archaeology, and Genetics. In Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms, pp. 1-13. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Erickson, David L., Bruce D. Smith, Andrew C. Clarke, Daniel H. Sandweiss, and Noreen Tuross
    2005 An Asian Origin for a 10,000-Year-Old Domesticated Plant in the Americas. PNAS 102(51):18315–18320.
  • Nuzzo, Regina
    2005 Profile of Bruce D. Smith. PNAS 102(27):9435–9437.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2005 Reassessing Coxcatlan Cave and the Early History of Domesticated Plants in Mesoamerica. PNAS Early Edition 2005 Inaugural Article: 1-8.
  • Jaenicke-Després, Viviane, Ed S. Buckler, Bruce D. Smith,
    M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Alan Cooper, John Doebley, and Svante Pääbo

    2003 Early Allelic Selection in Maize as Revealed by Ancient DNA. Science 302:1206-1208.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2001 Low-Level Food Production. Journal of Archaeological Research 9(1):1-43.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    2001 Documenting Plant Domestication: the Consilience of Biological and Archaeological Approaches. PNAS 98(4):1324-1326.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    1998 Between Foraging and Farming. Science 279:1651-1652.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    1997 The Initial Domestication of Cucurbita Pepo in the Americas 10,000 Years Ago. Science 276:932-934.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    1997 Reconsidering the Ocampo Caves and the Era of Incipient Cultivation in Mesoamerica. Latin American Antiquity 8(4):342-383.
  • Smith, Bruce D.
    1993 Reconciling the Gender-Credit Critique and the Floodplain Weed Theory of Plant Domestication. Archeological Report. Mississippi Department of Archives and History 25:111-125.

Bruce Smith photo

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