01.12.2015 - 04:55
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Department of Primatology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299

Daniela Hedwig

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

phone: 0049 (0) 1575 3880 085
e-mail: hedwig@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Current research and interests

I am a biologist with an interest in the subjects of behavioural ecology and social cognition. I am particularly intrigued by the study of vocal behaviour, as it not only promises to sharpen our understanding of how group living animals maintain their social relationships, but also of the evolution of the cognitive precursors of human language. In my Ph.D. dissertation I investigated the little understood vocal communication system of mountain and western gorillas. I have carried out a detailed quantitative acoustic analysis of the gorilla vocal repertoire and investigated the influence of behavioural, social and environmental factors on the acoustic variation of the gorilla vocal repertoire. This enabled me to shed light on the functions of gorilla vocalizations, but also the evolution of syntax in human language. Currently, I am participating in research projects on the function of Javan Gibbon songs, as well as gorilla behaviour.

This work is funded by:

The fascination I have for studying primates in their natural habitats goes hand in hand with the deep sense of gratitude and awe I have always felt for the beauty of nature. Therefore I am complimenting my fundamental research through an engagement in conservation biology and practical conservation efforts. I am currently acting as Wildlife Monitoring Advisor for the Aspinall Foundation, and am committed to the fight against the illegal wildlife trade in my current position with WWF Germany. Previously, in collaboration with the Dzanga- Sangha Project and WWF Germany, I co-founded the “Kamba ti BaAka”- project which aims to provide long-term medical care for the indigenous Aka people of the Dzanga- Sangha Nature Reserve in Central African Republic. I am also an active member of the Max Planck Conservation Group, in which I was recently involved in an awareness campaign fighting the illegal trade of African great apes.