Jr. Research Group of Primate Kin Selection
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
email: dpfefferle <at> eva.mpg.de
My focus of research is on the evolution of communicative signals. In particular I am interested in questions regarding the information content of vocal signals and how this information is decoded. My greater goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of speech and its impact upon the evolution of social behaviour.
My current research project aims at investigating (1) whether information about kinship is encoded in the acoustic structure of rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) vocalizations and (2) if so, whether this information is salient for other individuals? I also aim to investigate which mechanism is underlying paternal kin discrimination.
To answer these and other questions of interest, I study rhesus macaques living on Cayo Santiago, a 15 ha island south-east of Puerto Rico. I combine acoustic analysis with behavioural observations and playback experiments.