David C. Lahti is an Assistant Professor of Biology and the Undergraduate Research Coordinator at Queens College, City University of New York, where he runs a Behavior & Evolution laboratory focusing mainly on learned behavior in birds and humans. Prof. Lahti received a BS in biology and history from Gordon College. He received a PhD in moral philosophy and the philosophy of biology at the Whitefield Institute, Oxford, for a study of the contributions science can and cannot make to an understanding of the foundations of morality. He then received a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan for a study of rapid evolution in an introduced bird. He has been a Darwin Fellow at the University of Massachusetts and a Kirschstein NRSA Research Fellow with the US National Institutes of Health, where he studied the development and evolution of bird song. His current research projects involve co-evolution between avian brood parasites and their hosts in Africa, the genetic and cultural divergence of the house finch, the diversification of moral beliefs among African peoples, and the evolution of our capacity for morality and religion.
Selected recent biology publications
- Lahti, D. C. 2005. Evolution of bird eggs in the absence of cuckooparasitism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 102: 18057-18062. (Covered by New York Times, USA Today, New Scientist, Current Biology, and others).
- Lahti, D. C. 2006. Persistence of egg recognition in the absence of cuckoo brood parasitism: pattern and mechanism. Evolution 60: 157-168.
- Lahti, D. C. 2008. Population differentiation and rapid evolution of egg color in accordance with solar radiation. Auk 125: 796-802.
- Lahti, D. C., N. A. Johnson, B. C. Ajie, S. P. Otto, A. P. Hendry, D. T. Blumstein, R. G. Coss, K. Donohue, and S. A. Foster. 2009. Relaxed selection in the wild. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24:487-496.
- Lahti, D. C. 2009. Why we have been unable to generalize about bird nest predation. Animal Conservation 12: 279-281.
- Lahti, D. C. 2009. The place where extinction was discovered. Journal of Field Ornithology 80:438-442.
Selected publications in science and religion
- Lahti, D. C. 2003. Parting with illusions in evolutionary ethics. Biologyand Philosophy 18: 639-651.
- Lahti, D. C. 2004. "You have heard ... but I tell you ...": a test of the adaptive significance of moral evolution. In P. Clayton and J. Schloss (eds.) Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, pp.132-150.
- Lahti, D. C. and B. S. Weinstein. 2005. The better angels of our nature: group stability and the evolution of moral tension. Evolution and Human Behavior 26: 47-63.
- Lahti, D. C. 2009. The correlated history of social organization, morality, and religion. In E. Voland and W. Schiefenhövel (eds.), The Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 67-88.
- Lahti, D. C. (in press). Why humans discover. Euresis Proceedings 1.