Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
Phone: +49 341 3550 343
I am a behavioral ecologist and my main research interests are the evolution and of sociality and its life-history implications. In my PhD project, supervised by Dr Dieter Lukas, Dr Mary Brooke McElreath and Prof Richard McElreath, I focus on family and parent-offspring relations and I investigate how parents affect the behaviors and fitness of offspring. I apply population models to genealogical, life-history and environmental data of various human societies and other species to examine occurrences of "parental manipulation", an evolutionary phenomenon common to many taxa and particularly widespread in humans, that enhances parents' fitness at the expenses of (some) offspring's fitness. In a first phase of my project, I have developed a method based on matrix population models to look at the trade-offs involved in marriage between cousins (a possible instance of parental manipulation) in Yanomamo and Dogon people. I would like to apply this method to many other human populations and to compare the effects found in them, testing general predictions on marriage between cousins. In the end, in a comparative analysis with many species, I want to use my framework to explain all the behaviors connected to parental manipulation (reproductive suppression, infanticide, differential parental investment and inter-birth intervals) and to determine what factors influence them in a given species. I am a member of the Comparative Behavioral Ecology Group.