Primatology

Traditionally, anthropological primatology has investigated the adaptive function of physical and behavioral traits through the study of primates in their natural habitats and social settings.  Increasingly, new investigations link field to laboratory settings as endocrine, genetic, and microbiological data are applied to test the reproductive and physiological benefits and costs of behavioral tactics and strategies and their relation to ecological pressures.  Graduate training in Anthropology at Emory offers a multi-leveled and integrative approach to the study of behavior, health, and reproduction that links proximate, ontogenetic, phylogenetic, and ultimate perspectives.  A broad-based foundation in anthropology provides increased opportunities for entry into careers in academic anthropology, and a strong background in health and human biology provides an entryway to research careers linking naturalistic studies of primates to neurobiological and biomedical investigations.  

Anthropology Program faculty with research interests in primate behavior include James Rilling.  Departmental faculty with research interests in behavioral ecology include Craig Hadley, Adrian Jaeggi, Mel Konner and Carol Worthman.  Other programs with researchers who study primates include the departments of PsychologyEnvironmental Studies, and the Yerkes Primate Center. Faculty resources at Emory include expertise in evolutionary and neuroendocrine bases of behavior, temperament, stress, social bonds, communication, development, nutrition, parent-offspring behavior, sex, gender and sexuality, mental health, social influences on health, evolution of diet, and cognition.

Research resources in primatology within the Anthropology Department include the Laboratory of Reproductive Ecology and the Laboratory for Darwinian Neuroscience. The Laboratory of Reproductive Ecology specializes in noninvasive hormone analysis for use in field endocrinology, as well as the study of social and ecological influences on endocrine function in natural settings.  The Laboratory for Darwinian Neuroscience uses noninvasive brain imaging to compare human and nonhuman primate brains and map the neural basis of social cognition.

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center is a national primate research and breeding facility within Emory that houses over 3400 primates from 6 different species.  Yerkes faculty conduct research scientists with expertise in a range of areas including reproductive endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, sexual differentiation of brain and behavior, conflict and cooperation, evolution and biological bases of social bonds, communication, cognition, and neurobiology.