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Veronika Städele

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

phone: +49 341 3550 216
e-mail: veronika_staedele[>>> Please replace the brackets with an AT sign <<<]eva.mpg.de

 

Research

I have been a PhD student at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Dr. Linda Vigilant’s working group since March 2011. In general, I am most interested in answering all kinds of ultimate and proximate evolutionary questions independent of the study organism.

At the moment, my topic of research is ‘The genetic population structure of wild Hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas) at Filoha, Ethiopia’. The project is conducted in cooperation with Dr. Larissa Swedell who coordinates the Filoha Hamadryas Project at the Filoha outpost in the far north of the Awash National Park in central Etiopia. Several bands of hamadryas range in this area one of which is fully habituated and has been observed since 2002. A large amount of behavioural data has been collected since then and the baboons are individually known.

Hamadryas baboons are characterized by a strict multilevel social organization in which the basic unit is the OMU (one-male unit) comprising a leader male, one or several females and occasionally, a follower male. Some of these OMUs associate more frequently with each other. These associations are called clans and clans again associate at the level of bands. However, what constitutes the basis of these associations at the different levels is not fully resolved. Relatedness has been suggested to play a major role in Hamadryas society and may be the factor that ties individuals together beyond OMU boundaries creating the multi-leveled society.

DNA is extracted from fecal samples collected from individuals of known identity and affiliation and I use microsatellite genotyping to assess relatedness between the different levels of social organisation and identify possible kinship ties.

This work is funded by the Max Planck Society and the Leakey Foundation.