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Riana Minocher

Doctoral Student

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig  

phone: +49 341 3550 336
e-mail: riana_minocher@~@eva.mpg.de

office: level 1, room u1.42

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests 

I am an evolutionary biologist with broad interests. I have worked on a range of projects on human and non-human primate behaviour and ecology. I am currently particularly interested in the evolutionary processes that create and shape diversity between and within groups. Through my PhD research, I am keen on exploring the dynamics of cultural transmission and learning in human populations, to better understand the diverse patterns of behaviour we observe. 

Curriculum Vitae


2018-presentPhD Candidate,
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology, Culture
Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME).
Uppsala University, Sweden
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany
Arts and Sciences, with First Class Honours.
University College London, UK

Research Experience

August 2017
Uppsala University,
with Dr. Katerina Guschanski.
Prepared 16S rRNA libraries for microbial DNA in faecal samples of Grauer’s gorillas; developed lab protocols, bioinformatic pipelines and assessed effects of social group, age, sex and diet on microbial profiles
September 2016-February 2017Emory University,
with Dr. Adrian Jaeggi.
Conducted a study on polygyny in a human cross-cultural sample, implementing phylogenetic comparative methods in R
with Dr. Barbara Fruth.
Organised six years of unstructured field observations on indicators of health in two communities of wild bonobos; analysed social and ecological correlates of health issues

Awards and achievements

2015-2017Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Scholarship, funded by the EU
2015Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, University College London (UCL)
2013-2014Best Academic Performance Per Pathway; years 1 and 2 at UCL
2011CIE Outstanding Learner Award - Top in India, Across 5 AS Levels
2011CIE Outstanding Learner Award - Top in India, Literature in English

Related Experience

September-December 2017Divemaster Trainee, Dive Blue Motion/ Luminocean, Banda Islands, Indonesia.
Trained as SSI Divemaster; collected data for Luminocean’s marine conservation research projects
January-March 2016Field Assistant, Gashaka Primate Project, Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria.
Conducted focal observations of habituated baboons; collected and analysed data on chimpanzee nest trees to calculate decay and reuse rates of sleeping nests
September 2013-July 2015UCL Student Ambassador, University College London, UK.
Conducted workshops and events to help motivate young people to pursue Higher Education, and improve their reading, writing and presentation skills
January-August 2015Personal Tutor, Tavistock Tutors, London, UK.
Privately tutored A-level and GCSE students in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and English


DataR (proficient), ArcGIS, Python (basic)
LaboratoryDNA library preparation


FrenchIntermediate B2


Minocher, R., Atmaca, S., Bavero, C., McElreath, R., & Beheim, B. A. (2020). Reproducibility of social learning research declines exponentially over 63 years of publication. PsyArXiv.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Minocher, R., Duda, P., & Jaeggi, A. V. (2019). Explaining marriage patterns in a globally representative sample through socio-ecology and population history: A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis using a new supertree. Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(2), 176-187.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Minocher, R. and Sommer V. (2017). Why do mothers harm their babies? Evolutionary Perspectives. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 41(4), 335-350.

Sommer, V., Minocher, R. and Lowe, A. (2016). Entry Infanticide. In: Hillary Callan (ed), The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology (12 vol). NJ: Wiley-Blackwell


2017Minocher, Riana, Pavel Duda and Adrian V. Jaeggi. Non-independence in the SCCS: polygyny and the effect of cultural history. European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA), Paris, France.
2018Minocher, Riana and Katerina Guschanski. Ecology and sociality shape the wild primate gut microbiome. EVOLUTION 2018, Montpellier, France.