Thomas Headland is a Senior Anthropology Consultant with SIL International, in Dallas, Texas. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawaii. He has published twelve books and over 100 scholarly articles. His latest articles were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on December 12, 2011, (second author Harry Greene) and in Science on March 11, 2011 (lead author Kim Hill).
Headland's major publication, compiled with his wife Janet Headland, was published online in version 2.0 in January, 2011. Titled Agta Demographic Database: Chronicle of a Hunter-Gatherer Community in Transition, it contains a mammoth 4,000-page population chronicle of all members of an Agta Negrito people in the Philippines. In addition, data tables are available that can be downloaded without charge. This compilation is based on the Headlands' more than 48 years of demographic research on the Agta people, and they consider the sharing of these data their most significant contribution to science.
Headland's specialties are hunter-gatherer societies, tropical forest human ecology, and Philippine Negritos. From 1962 to 1986 he and his wife, Janet Headland, served under SIL in the Philippines, where their three children were born and raised. Janet collaborates with Tom in all of his research. Janet and Tom continue to make field research trips among the Agta Negritos in the Philippines including trips in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
Headland is an active fellow of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). He has organized and chaired numerous anthropology symposia, including the debate between Marvin Harris and Kenneth Pike in 1988, the AAA Presidential Session on Missionaries and Human Rights in 1994, and a symposium on indigenous human rights at the 12th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, in 1988. In 1989 he was commissioned to head the AAA investigation of the Tasaday hoax controversy, challenging the claim made in the 1970s that the Tasaday were a newly-discovered tribe of lost stone-age cave men in the Philippine rain forest. His research has been described on the public television program NOVA and in numerous magazines such as Science, Science News, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Anthropology News, USA Today, and in over 100 newspapers.