PK Podcast 010: Alyssa Crittenden On The Hadza, Honey And The Human Diet

by Paul Kirtley

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Alyssa Crittenden with Hadza kids

Alyssa Crittenden with Hadza children, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Crittenden.

Alyssa Crittenden is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To be more specific, Alyssa is a behavioural ecologist and nutritional anthropologist who works among the Hadza hunter-gatherers in East Africa.

Professor Crittenden’s work is inter-disciplinary, including anthropology, ecology, nutrition and human biology, with a primary focus on the evolution of human behaviours as adaptive solutions and placing them in a sociological and ecological context.

The Hadza live near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania. They are the last remaining tribe on the whole of the African continent to forage for the majority of their diet. Much of Professor Crittenden’s work has centred on spending time with the Hadza in order to gain an increased understanding of the hunter-gatherer life as well as shedding some light on broader questions of human behaviour and human evolution.

Professor Crittenden’s fieldwork at Lake Eyasi, Tanzania includes,

2015: Hadza Dental Microwear: Implications for the evolution of human diet.

2013: Testing the Cooking Hypothesis: the nutrient availability of cooked versus raw tubers.

2013: Characterizing the Hadza gut microbiome.

2011-2012: Cross-cultural Studies in Cognition.

2005: Oldowan Use-wear Experiments and Analysis: Wild tuber processing by Hadza women.

2004-2006: Allomaternal Care and Juvenile Foraging among Hadza Foragers: Implications for
the evolution of cooperative breeding in humans.

Alyssa Crittenden with Hadza women

Alyssa Crittenden with Hadza women during fieldwork in Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Crittenden.

In particular I was interested to speak with Alyssa about her work on the evolution of the human diet, foraging and food sharing strategies, including her hypothesis about the importance of honey consumption in the human evolution.

Our conversation forms Episode 10 of The Paul Kirtley Podcast…

How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button on the right of the player.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download icon just to the left of the play button to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher or via my podcast-only RSS feed.


Click here to read or download the transcript of Paul Kirtley Podcast episode 010.

Tweet A Quote From This Podcast


Hadza Film – The Hadza: Last Of The First

The Importance Of Honey Consumption In Human Evolution

More About Alyssa Crittenden And Her Work…

Personal website:

UNLV website:


Alyssa Crittenden with Hadza kids

Alyssa with Hadza children. Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Crittenden.

Camp in Tanzania for anthropology field work

Alyssa’s camp during field work in Tanzania. Photo: Alyssa Crittenden.

Thanks For Listening!

Thanks for joining me on this podcast. If you have any comments about this episode, please leave them in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

And Finally…May I Ask A Favour?

If you haven’t done already, please, please leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast, they help get this content in front of other people who would benefit from what it contains. AND I read each and every one of them.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

Five Survival Plants Every Forager Should Know

Survival Foraging: A Realistic Approach

PK Podcast 007: Jules Pretty, Travels With Enduring People In Vanishing Lands

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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }


Hi Paul!
Scientists as she deserves special praise.
I am happy that I was able to meet with the life of Hadza people.
I hope that many people will see and hear the video, in order to provide them with
need help.
Many thanks!


Paul Kirtley

Glad you enjoyed it Bozidar.



Excellent show! I really enjoyed it


Paul Kirtley

Thank you!




Just really wanted to give a big thumbs up to this podcast (and all the others). Really interesting and informative.

Keep it up (when you can find the time).



P.S Thanks for all of the knowledge sharing you do, it is appreciated.


Paul Kirtley

Thanks for the feedback and words of appreciation Matt. It means a lot.

Warm regards,



Ingrid Chen

Dear Paul
Great podcast! Your interviewee was most interesting and inspiring, as are the subjects of her research. I’ll definitely be looking for more related information.
It was also very helpful to be able to read the transcript as I had a bit of trouble listening on my device (chromebook) so I could fill in any gaps and re-read.
Thanks so much for sharing this with us.


Paul Kirtley

Hi Ingrid,

Nice to hear from you. It’s been a while.

Thanks for your feedback on this episode as well as the usefulness of the transcript.

Thanks for listening.

Warm regards,



Jon Silver

Incredibly refreshing to hear someone like Alyssa speaking about such intellectual but relevant source material within the context of a bushcraft-related podcast. There are so many survivalist macho types tramping around claiming they do bushcraft, but your genuine interest in learning the accumulated wisdom of hunter-gatherer peoples and your gentle, considered, intellectual approach to bushcraft is greatly appreciated by the likes of me and I’m sure many others. Keep it up Paul, and thanks to Alyssa.


Paul Kirtley

Hi Jon,

Your appreciation of what I’m attempting with this podcast is greatly appreciated.

Warm regards,




I am now eating honey in the morning with butter and full-fat milk, and baobab powder, and will eat nothing till much later in the day, where after walking many thousands of steps I will consume meat rich dish with tubers, and berries, nuts. I am sure my distended abdomen will disappear quite fast.

This is the future of the Western diet, it has to be!


Dave Welsby

This was one of the most enjoyable podcast to date! One of my favorite subjects!


Paul Kirtley

Thanks Dave. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

Warm regards,



Jake Pyett

Hey Paul!

This was an awesome podcast and extremely interesting. Thank you so much for making this sort of information available and also in such a relaxed and easy to listen to conversation, its great!!!





Hope I don’t get banned but…..
Rather upsetting podcast to say the least.
I could go into detail but I don’t won’t to spoil your day.
Maybe she should get them to stick a mobile phone mast on whats left of their land to get that twittering started. it would give them some income too.
I would be happy to clarify my views further if tolerated. Maybe by email.

No disrespect to you Paul, as I feel you truly are sympathetic to the bushmens plight.

Have you seen the film, the gods must be crazy? Your anthropology girl should watch it.
All the best for the coming year.
Killer bees, oh dear.


Paul Kirtley

Hi Cen,

Why would you be banned? I have no firm clue as to what you are alluding.

I suggest you send an email to elaborate on your issues with this podcast and/or Professor Crittenden’s views.

The contact form is easy to find on this site. Drop me message that way.

All the best,



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