Melvin Konner

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Melvin Konner
Melvin Konner closeup.jpg
Born (1946-08-30) August 30, 1946 (age 74)
Alma materBrooklyn College, CUNY, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School
Scientific career
FieldsAnthropology, behavioral biology
InstitutionsEmory University
ThesisInfants of a foraging people (1973)

Melvin Joel Konner (born 1946) is an American anthropologist who is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University.[1] He studied at Brooklyn College, CUNY (1966), where he met Marjorie Shostak, whom he later married and with whom he had three children.[2] He earned his PhD in biological anthropology from Harvard University in 1973. He spent two years doing fieldwork among the Kalahari San or Bushmen, studying infant development and the hormonal mechanism of lactational infertility. After six years on the Harvard faculty, he returned to school and received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1985. He then moved to Emory as department chair.

From 1985[3] on, he contributed substantially in developing the concept of a Paleolithic diet and its impact on health, publishing along with Stanley Boyd Eaton,[4][5] and later also with his wife Marjorie Shostak[6] and with Loren Cordain.[7]

He has held grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and National Science Foundation, and has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council, and the Foundations Fund for Research in Psychiatry.

Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, Konner has stated that he lost his faith at age 17.[8] His views on religion, however, are complex, as he has also discussed the function of counseling by chaplains in the hospital where he worked, saying that while as a scientist he did not endorse their views, as an anthropologist he recognized the value of their services.

Konner aroused some controversy in 2006 when he wrote an article contesting the claims in former US President Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter responded quoting from his December 15 press release entitled "Letter to the Jewish Citizens of America". In a lengthy follow-up letter, Konner disputed Carter's claims and called the book and its title inflammatory.

He attended and was a speaker at the Beyond Belief symposium on November 2006.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Konner, Melvin J. (2015) Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy. W. W. Norton & Company
  • Konner, Melvin J. (2010) The Evolution of Childhood. Cambridge, MA : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (2009) The Jewish Body. Knopf.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (2003) Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews. New York : Viking Compass.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (2002) The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit, 2nd ed. (original 1982) New York: Times Books.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (1993) Medicine at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Healthcare. Pantheon Books.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (1990) Why the Reckless Survive . . . and Other Secrets of Human Nature. New York: Viking.
  • Konner, Melvin J. (1987) Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School. New York: Viking.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Melvin J. Konner, Ph.D
  2. ^ Miscellaneous Obituaries of Anthropologists
  3. ^ Eaton SB, Konner M. "Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications." The New England Journal of Medicine 1985 Jan 31;312(5):283-9.
  4. ^ Eaton SB, Konner MJ. "Stone age nutrition: implications for today." Bol Asoc Med P R. 1986 May;78(5):217-9.
  5. ^ Eaton SB, Eaton SB 3rd, Konner MJ. "Paleolithic nutrition revisited: a twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications." Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr;51(4):207-16.
  6. ^ Eaton SB, Konner M, Shostak M. "Stone agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective." Am J Med. 1988 Apr;84(4):739-49.
  7. ^ Eaton SB, Konner MJ, Cordain L. "Diet-dependent acid load, Paleolithic [corrected] nutrition, and evolutionary health promotion." Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Feb;91(2):295-7.
  8. ^ So Was It Odd of God? - The New York Times

External links[edit]