Dr. Mary E. Baker

  • Professor

Dr. Baker has always been interested in the minds of animals. While an undergraduate, she held a research assistant position at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute collecting behavioral data on captive vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops). The project documented the daily lives of the monkeys and what is means to be born into large, multigenerational social groups that include grandmothers, female kin, and unrelated adult males. She helped document the development of individual differences in behavioral and personality within the context of normal social development.

Since 1991, she has studied white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) in Costa Rica, returning almost every year in a longitudinal study focused on the ecological and cognitive adaptations of these monkeys. Her dissertation focused on the cognitive aspects of medicinal plant use by capuchin monkeys. Her continuing research interests have focused primarily on nonhuman use of medicinal substances, the evolution of cognition, foraging patterns and the conservation of nonhuman primates. Most recently, she is developing an interest in communicating science and community outreach.


Ph.D., University of California, Riverside

M.A., University of California, Riverside

B.A., California State University, Northridge


ANTH 103 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 233 Methods in Anthropology
ANTH 265 Anthropological Perspectives on Childhood (Core 4 / Connections)
ANTH 304 Human Paleontology
ANTH 306 Primate Ecology and Social Behavior (AQSR)
ANTH 307 Human Nature: Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior (AQSR)
ANTH 402 Evolution of the Capacity for Culture
ANTH 460 Sem in Anthro,Sr Experience​​