David R Samson

David R Samson
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Anthropology

27.05
 · 
PhD

About

44
Publications
7,769
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
399
Citations
Research Experience
July 2014 - July 2017
Duke University
Position
  • Post-doctoral Associate
July 2013 - June 2014
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Position
  • Visiting Assistant Professor
September 2006 - May 2013
Indiana University Bloomington
Position
  • Graduate Student and Instructor

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Over the past four decades, scientists have made substantial progress in understanding the evolution of sleep patterns across the Tree of Life.[1, 2] Remarkably, the specifics of sleep along the human lineage have been slow to emerge. This is surprising, given our unique mental and behavioral capacity and the importance of sleep for individual cogn...
Article
Full-text available
The daily construction of a sleeping platform or "nest" is a universal behavior among large-bodied hominoids. Among chimpanzees, most populations consistently select particular tree species for nesting, yet the principles that guide species preferences are poorly understood. At Semliki, Cynometra alexandri constitutes only 9.6% of all trees in the...
Article
Objectives: Cross-cultural sleep research is critical to deciphering whether modern sleep expression is the product of recent selective pressures, or an example of evolutionary mismatch to ancestral sleep ecology. We worked with the Hadza, an equatorial, hunter-gatherer community in Tanzania, to better understand ancestral sleep patterns and to te...
Article
The nightly construction of an arboreal sleeping platform (SP) has been observed among every chimpanzee's population studied to date. Here, we report on bioclimatic aspects of SP site choice among dry-habitat chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Uganda. We placed a portable weather monitor within 1 m of...
Article
Of the extant primates, only 20 non-human species have been studied by sleep scientists. Notable sampling gaps exist, including large-bodied hominoids such as gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), orangutans (Pongo spp.) and bonobos (Pan paniscus), for which data have been characterized as high priority. Here, we report the sleep architecture of three female...
Article
Objectives The pooling of energetic resources and food sharing have been widely documented among hunter‐gatherer societies. Much less is known about how the energetic costs of daily activities are distributed across individuals in such groups, including between women and men. Moreover, the metabolic physiological correlates of those activities and...
Article
Full-text available
The pathophysiology of insomnia remains poorly understood, yet emerging cross-disciplinary approaches integrating natural history, observational studies in traditional populations, gene-phenotype expression and experiments, are opening up new avenues to investigate the evolutionary origins of sleep disorders, with the potential to inform innovation...
Article
Sleep is essential for survival, yet it represents a time of extreme vulnerability, including through exposure to parasites and pathogens transmitted by biting insects. To reduce the risks of exposure to vector-borne disease, the encounter-dilution hypothesis proposes that the formation of groups at sleep sites is influenced by a “selfish herd” beh...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep is a critically important dimension of primate behavior, ecology, and evolution, yet primate sleep is under-studied because current methods of analyzing sleep are expensive, invasive, and time-consuming. In contrast to electroencephalography (EEG) and actigraphy, videography is a cost-effective and non-invasive method to study sleep architect...
Article
Primates spend almost half their lives asleep, yet little is known about how sleep influences their waking cognition. We hypothesized that diurnal and cathemeral lemurs differ in their need for consistent, non-segmented sleep for next-day cognitive function—including long-term memory consolidation, self-control, foraging efficiency, and sociality....
Article
Objectives: The lunar cycle is expected to influence sleep-wake patterns in human populations that have greater exposure to the environment, as might be found in forager populations that experience few environmental buffers. We investigated this “moonlight” hypothesis in two African populations: one composed of hunter-gatherers (with minimal enviro...
Article
Objective: Despite widespread interest in maternal–infant co-sleeping, few quantified data on sleep patterns outside of the cultural west exist. Here, we provide the first report on co-sleeping behavior and maternal sleep quality among habitually co-sleeping hunter-gatherers. Design: Data were collected among the Hadza of Tanzania who live in domic...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated blood pressure presents a global health threat, with rates of hypertension increasing in low and middle-income countries. Lifestyle changes may be an important driver of these increases in blood pressure. Hypertension is particularly prevalent in African countries, though the majority of studies have focused on mainland Africa. We collecte...
Data
Demographic data, as related to lifestyle and household attributes. (PDF)
Data
Comparison of the first and third blood pressure readings from 2016 and 2017. The third measurement is lower than the first. (EPS)
Data
Cohort demographics, where SBP and DBP are the third readings. (PDF)
Data
Predictors of blood pressure, as related to lifestyle and household attributes, from 2015 data (N = 47). (PDF)
Data
SBP (R2 = 0.186, p<0.001) and DBP (R2 = 0.067, p<0.001) increases with age. The dashed line indicates the minimum blood pressure value for hypertension. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Primates spend almost half their lives asleep, yet we know little about how evolution has shaped variation in the duration or intensity of sleep (i.e., sleep regulation) across primate species. Our objective was to test hypotheses related to how sleeping site security influences sleep intensity in different lemur species. Methods We use...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Primates vary in their sleep durations and, remarkably, humans sleep the least per 24-hr period of the 30 primates that have been studied. Using phylogenetic methods that quantitatively situate human phenotypes within a broader primate comparative context, we investigated the evolution of human sleep architecture, focusing on: total sl...
Article
Sleep is necessary for the survival of all mammalian life. In humans, recent investigations have generated critical data on the relationship between sleep and ecology in small-scale societies. Here, we report the technological and social strategies used to alter sleep environments and influence sleep duration and quality among a population of hunte...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep is essential for survival, yet it also represents a time of extreme vulnerability to predation, hostile conspecifics and environmental dangers. To reduce the risks of sleeping, the sentinel hypothesis proposes that group-living animals share the task of vigilance during sleep, with some individuals sleeping while others are awake. To investig...
Article
Global and evolutionary perspectives on sleep Sleep Health Request for Papers (RFP) 2017-2018 Guest editors: David R. Samson & Gandhi M. Yetish Modernization has rapidly transformed sleep environments worldwide. This transformation has been marked by the expansion of artificial lighting, screen-based digital media, and controlled, temperature-cons...
Article
Cathemerality, or activity throughout the 24-hr cycle, is rare in primates yet relatively common among lemurs. However, the diverse ecological conditions under which cathemerality is expressed complicates attempts to identify species-typical behavior. For example, Lemur catta and Varecia have historically been described as diurnal, yet recent studi...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: We studied sleep in a rural population in Madagascar to (i) characterize sleep in an equatorial small-scale agricultural population without electricity, (ii) assess whether sleep is linked to noise levels in a dense population, and (iii) examine the effects of experimentally introduced artificial light on sleep timing. Methods: Using...
Article
Objective: To compare different scoring parameter settings in actigraphy software for inferring sleep and wake bouts for validating analytical techniques outside of laboratory environments. Design: To identify parameter settings that best identify napping during periods of wakefulness, we analyzed 137 days on which participants reported daytime...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep is essential to cognitive function and health in humans, yet the ultimate reasons for sleep - i.e., why sleep evolved - remain mysterious. We integrate findings from human sleep studies, the ethnographic record, and the ecology and evolution of mammalian sleep to better understand sleep along the human lineage and in the modern world. Compare...
Article
The nightly construction of arboreal sleeping platforms or "nests" has been observed among every great ape population studied to date. However, this behavior has never been reported in any other nonhuman primate and comparisons between ape and monkey sleep illuminate the link between sleeping substrates, positional behavior, and sleep efficiency. H...
Article
Full-text available
The nightly construction of a 'nest' or sleeping platform is a behavior that has been observed in every wild great ape population studied, yet in captivity, few analyses have been performed on sleep related behavior. Here, we report on such behavior in three female and two male captive orangutans (Pongo spp.), in a natural light setting, at the Ind...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have suggested that the ability of male primates to emit long-distance vocalizations is energetically costly and potentially incurring important adaptive consequences upon the calling individuals. Here, we present the first preliminary data on captive orangutan (Pongo spp.) nocturnal long calls, generated at the Indianapolis Zoo. We use...
Conference Paper
The great apes, humans included, are unique in that they share the universal trait of sleeping platform building. Even primates characterized by large body and brain mass (e.g., Papio and Mandrillus) and/or high levels of intelligence (e.g., Cebus) do not build nightly platforms on which to sleep. Therefore, a direct comparison between a large-bodi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It has been hypothesized that with the advent of the Miocene, apes began to manufacture complex sleeping platforms to create more comfortable and stable sleeping environments which resulted in a lengthening of sleep architecture and augmented cognition. The cognitive effects of quality sleep in large bodied hominoids have yet to be tested. We hypot...
Article
Full-text available
Great apes spend half of their lives in a nightly "nest" or sleeping platform (SP), a complex object created by modifying foliage, which functions as a stable substrate on which to sleep. Of the several purported functions of SPs, one hypothesis is that they protect against parasitic infection. Here we investigate the role of SP site choice in avoi...
Article
Full-text available
The nightly construction of a sleeping platform (SP) or "nest" is widely regarded as a universal behavior among great apes, yet SP structural morphology has been incompletely quantified to date. This is in part due to the inherent difficulties of gathering empirical data on arboreally sited SPs. I gathered quantitative structural data on SPs (n = 6...
Article
From the works of Broca and Krogman to modern-day Jantz and Buikstra, the orbit has been used for both quantitative and qualitative sex and race estimation. This study evaluates the practical value of these estimations. Orbital height and breadth were measured to determine the orbital index and assess differences between men and women or black peop...
Article
Full-text available
The function of the Acheulean handaxe is controversial. Several competing usage theories are currently being debated amongst paleoanthropologists. One such hypothesis is the lethal projectile theory. Past experimentation has indicated that the handaxe could have been used as a lethal projectile thrown from a distance to hunt prey. This actualistic...

Questions and Answers

Question & Answers (5)
Question
Specifically, I would like to be able to ascertain volume for structures such as the basal pons across the primate order.
,

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
I am currently drafting manuscripts based on sleep-wake activity data analyzed from multiple small-scale societies.