26.11.2015 - 09:46
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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

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 remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de


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 interested in answering all kinds of ultimate and proximate evolutionary questions independent of the study organism. My undergraduate research focused on the development of organ laterality in the African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis.

My PhD topic of research is ‘The population genetic structure of wild hamadryas baboons (Papio 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 Ethiopia. Several bands of hamadryas range in this area one of which is fully habituated. A large amount of behavioural data has been collected and the baboons are individually identified.

Hamadryas baboons are characterized by a multilevel social system 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 than others. These associations are called clans and clans associate at the level of bands. However, what constitutes the basis of these associations at the different levels and how individuals move among them in the course of their lives is not fully resolved. Kinship has been suggested to play a major role in hamadryas society and may be the factor that ties individuals together creating the multi-levelled system.

DNA is extracted from faecal samples collected from individuals of known identity and from unhabituated bands and I use microsatellite genotyping in combination with the behavioural data to identify the movement of individuals among the different levels of social system and identify possible kinship ties.

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