David Samson

David’s research directly addresses the central anthropological question of human uniqueness. In other words, the question that drives his work is what is it about our species that has made us the most successful animal on the planet? In the quest to understand what makes humans special, he’s comparatively worked with human and non-human primates (and wolves and dogs) around the globe to better understand the behavioral, physiological, and cognitive suite of traits that likely played a crucial role in our success. Specifically, his research investigates the link between sleep and human evolution through revolutionary new approaches, recording sleep datasets and sleep architecture for a range of primates including lemurs, zoo orangutans, wild chimpanzees, and humans living in different types and scales of societies. His research has probed sleep’s role in cognition, sociality, and group dynamics throughout human evolution.

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