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Contact

Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 315
fax: +49 (0)341 3550 - 333

e-mail: cissewski@eva.mpg.de


Thurston Cleveland Hicks

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

e-mail: cleve_hicks@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae
Publications
Links

Research Interests

My primary research interest is in the distribution and behavior of unstudied populations of great apes across Africa’s Congo Basin, in particular of chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. At every new site where chimpanzees have been studied, they have been found to possess site-specific suites of behavioral traits, argued to represent cultural diversity. Large tracts of forests, particularly in the Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, remain unexplored, and it is unknown whether or not they are inhabited by apes, or if so, how many apes. By conducting systematic surveys using line transects as well as recces and presence / absence data, we can develop a clearer picture of the distribution of African great apes in these hitherto unexplored forests.

In addition, I seek to understand the distribution of ape traditions, how they map onto genetic diversity, and how they are affected by proposed ape barriers such as rivers. Understanding where the apes live and how their behaviors are similar to or different from those of other populations is a crucial tool in assuring their survival, and also has much to tell us about our own biological and cultural evolution.

Curriculum Vitae

NameThurston Cleveland Hicks
NationalityUnited States of America
Date of birthFebruary 21, 1972
 Born in Raleigh, North Carolina
Research interestsDistribution, conservation status, and behavioral ecology of the African great apes; African great ape behavioral diversity.

Education

2020 – PresentGuest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture.
2010 – 2019Guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Primatology.
2004 – 2010PhD Thesis, University of Amsterdam. “A Chimpanzee Mega-Culture? Exploring behavioral continuity in Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii across northern DR Congo”. [Link]. In order to complete this thesis, I spent two and a half years in the field in DR Congo studying the Bili-Uele chimpanzees.
2001 – 2004Master’s thesis, Central Washington University: "Chimpanzee Tool Use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic,” based on the data I collected during my 2001–2002 field expedition to the Ngotto Forest,  CAR.
1990 – 1994Undergraduate studies: NC State University and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (I graduated from the latter with a degree in Anthropology).

Major grants

NCN grant awarded to Thurston C. Hicks of The Faculty of Artes Liberales, 2018: Badanie kultury materialnej szympansow w wschodniej DR Konga. (A Survey of Chimpanzee Material Culture in Eastern DR Congo). Konkurz OPUS 13.  DEC-2017/25/B/NZ8/02730. A 3-year research project with a Ph.D. student focused on chimpanzee behavior in the Ituri Forest, DR Congo.

US Fish and Wildlife grant awarded:The Future of the Bili Ape: Distribution, Protection, and Awareness on a Regional and National Level. 2012-2013.
Principle Investigator:Dr. Thurston C. Hicks
CFDA number15.629
DUNS number::037228256+0000
Under the Great Ape Conservation Act of 2000 (USC 6303), Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 / Congo Basin Forest Partnership
Project Coordinator Bili-Uere Survey Project 2012
A collaboration between MPI-EVA & Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, with assistance from African Wildlife Foundation.

Field and laboratory research experience

2004 – 2013Lead Scientific Director and Field Camp Manager for the Bili Apes Project, DRC. I followed the local chimpanzees and recorded feeding, nesting, and tool-use behaviors, as well as conducted transect and recce nest surveys. In total we surveyed an area encompassing approximately 35,000 km² of previously uncharted forests and savannas. We also documented an exploding chimpanzee bushmeat crisis to the south of Bili.
2002Summer Apprentice, Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, Ellensberg, Washington. During this period and during my subsequent graduate studies, I received basic training in animal care for the four sign language-using chimpanzees living at the sanctuary / research center, also participating in ongoing behavioral research and becoming sign-reliable for the chimpanzees.
2001 – 2002Chief field researcher and camp manager, Ngotto Field Project, CAR, Friends of Washoe. I conducted behavioral research on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Through the use of transect surveys, I documented the effects of selective-logging on these two species.
1999 – 2001Field assistant, Mondika Research Station, CAR. I aided in the habituation of a group of western lowland gorillas, collecting data on their diet and behavior. In addition I managed the camp during the absence of the scientific director.
1998 – 1999Research assistant, Project Bonobo – In-Situ, collecting behavioral data on bonobos (Pan paniscus) at the Planckendael Zoo, Belgium.
1995 – 1998Research assistant, Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, collecting and entering daily behavioral data on the island’s free-ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition, I participated in the yearly 2-month trapping season.
1994 – 1995Research assistant, Duke Primate Center, Durham, North Carolina, collecting behavioral data on free-ranging ring- tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). I compiled matrices of the dominance hierarchies for two social groups and participated in monthly trappings and weighings.
1993Field assistant, University of North Carolina Archaeological Dig, Mississippi, during which time I received training in archaeological excavation and participated in the unearthing of ancient Native American artifacts.
1990 – 1991Research and field assistant, North Carolina Museum of Natural History, cleaning and preserving dinosaur fossils at the museum. I participated in the Wyoming Dinosaur Expedition in the summer of 1991.

Oral presentations at national and international symposia

2018Hicks T. C. (2018). “Chimpanzee technology in Northern DR Congo: A comparison of behaviors between savanna mosaic and moist tropical forest habitats.” Oral presentation at the International Primatological Society, Congress XXVII, in Nairobi, Kenya. August 20, 2018.

Hicks T. C. (2018). “Specialized chimpanzee technology in Northern DR Congo.”     Seminar lecture at Cent Lecture Center, Wild Urban Evolution and Ecology Lab in    Warsaw, Poland. June 13 2018.
2017Hicks T. C. (2017). “The Bili-Uéré Chimpanzee Behavioral Realm of Northern DR Congo.” Oral presentation at the Polish Society for Human and Evolution Studies in Krakow, Poland. September 21, 2017.
2016Hicks T. C. (2016). “It’s a Matter of Taste: Chimpanzee Cultural Realms in the Congo.” Oral presentation,  Tedx Warsaw Talk, University of Warsaw. May 28, 2016.
2015Hicks TC, Kühl H, Roessingh P, Boesch C, Hart J & Menken SBJ. February 11 2015. Poster presentation at the German Federation of Primatology conference in Leipzig, Germany. Tool use by Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii is not dependent on abundance of insect prey in Northern DR Congo.

Hicks TC, Kühl H, Roessingh P, Boesch C, Hart J & Menken SBJ.25-28 August 2015. Oral presentation at the European federation of Primatologists in Rome, Italy: Tool use by Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii is not dependent on abundance of insect prey in Northern DR Congo.

Hicks TC, Kühl H, Roessingh P, Boesch C, Hart J & Menken SBJ. December 2 2015. Oral presentation at the Primate Society of Great Britain, London Zoological Society. Tool use by Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii is not dependent on abundance of insect prey in Northern DR Congo.

Hicks TC. Explorations of a Threatened Chimpanzee Culture in Northern NR Congo. November 30 2015. Oral presentation at the Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales’ at the University of Warsaw and (via satellite link) The Collaboratory, Rutgers University.
2014Kühl H & Hicks TCH. 19 May 2014. Humans and African Apes – An Uneasy Coexistence. At ‘Humans and Nonhuman Primates – Crossing the Boundaries’. The Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales’ University of Warsaw.

Organizer, with Maureen McCarthy and Jack Lester, The Chimpanzee-Human Interface: Symposium at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. July 10-11, 2014. Presented here the talk: Impact of humans on long-distance communication behavior in eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2013Hicks, Thurston C., Sandra Tranquilli, Hjalmar Kuehl, Genevieve Campbell, Jeroen Swinkels, Laura Darby, Christophe Boesch, John Hart, and Steph BJ Menken 2013. "A Large, Continuous, and Stable Population of Eastern Chimpanzees Inhabits the Forests of Northern DR Congo."Abstract for presentation at the European federation of Primatologists 2013 conference in Antwerp, Belgium. In FOLIA PRIMATOLOGICA, vol. 84, no. 3-5, pp. 286-287. ALLSCHWILERSTRASSE 10, CH-4009 BASEL, SWITZERLAND: KARGER, 2013.

Hicks TC. MSc Primate Conservation, Oxford Brookes University. December 2 2013. Oral presentation at The Primate Conservation Seminar. "Discovery of a large, continuous population of Eastern chimpanzees in the Uele region of Northern DR Congo".
2010“A Mega-Culture? Behavioral continuity in the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of northern DR Congo.” International Primatological Society Congress XXIII, Kyoto, Japan. 17 September.
2010“A Chimpanzee Mega-Culture? Behavioral continuity in the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of northern DR Congo.” The Symposium of Tropical Ecology, the University of Amsterdam. 22 October.
2009“Exploration of a chimpanzee Mega-Culture in DR Congo.”16th PhD Day, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 10 December.
2009“Explorations of a threatened chimpanzee ‘Mega-Culture’ in the northern DR Congo.” The Burgers Zoo, The Netherlands. March.
2007“Apes in Congo”. IBED Day, The University of Amsterdam, Hoge Veluwe, The Netherlands. 13 September.
2006“Beyond the speculation - Just what are the Bili apes?” International Primatological Society Congress XXI, Entebbe, Uganda. 29 June.
2006“Some images of the Bili apes.” International Primatological Society Congress XXI, Entebbe, Uganda. 29 June.
2005“The Bili apes – Are they special?” The European Federation of Primatologists conference in Göttingen, Germany. 12 August.
2004“Chimpanzee tool use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic.” The Rocky Mountain Pyschological Association conference, Reno, Nevada. April.
2004“Nest construction by chimpanzees and gorillas in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic.” The Third Central Washington University Graduate Student and Faculty Conference. (Together with Dr. Roger Fouts I received an Outstanding Student Presentation Award for this talk). 6 May.

Teaching experience

2014-presentAdjunct Professor at the Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales’, The University of Warsaw. Classes: ‘Culture Beyond Homo sapiens’, ‘Humankind’s Place in Nature’, ‘Humans and their Great Ape Cousins’, ‘Humans as Great Apes’ (co-taught with professor Fran Bartkowski of Rutger’s University).
2014-2015Supervised Master’s student Igor Siedlecki on his research project at the Warsaw Zoo for the University of Warsaw. Diploma received in 2015.
2002 – 2004Docent at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute’s Chimposium. I served as Presenter/Observer Guide for this program, informing visitors about chimpanzee behavior and conservation (including the threat of the bushmeat trade) and introducing visitors to the chimpanzees for brief visits.

Awards

Hicks TC & Fouts R, 2004. Winner of Outstanding Student Presentation Award the Third Central Washington University Graduate Student and Faculty Conference. Chimpanzee Tool Use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic.

Hicks TC, Roessing P & Menken SBJ. 2015. Winner of the AH Schultz Award for Best Paper (Folia Primatologica / Primate Society of Great Britain). For the article: "Impact of Humans on Long-Distance Communication Behaviour of Eastern Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo." 2013. Folia Primatologica 84.3: 135-156.

Other information

LanguagesEnglish native speaker, fluent in French and Spanish, conversational in Lingala, Sangho and Babenzele. German and Dutch – works in progress!


Author and illustrator of the children’s book about conservation ‘A Rhino to the Rescue: A Tale of Conservation and Adventure’ (2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9Jhz8IIyfM&t=172s

Publications

Hicks, T. C., Kühl, H. S., Boesch, C., Menken, S. B. J., Hart, J., Roessingh, P., Ewango, C., & Mundry, R. (2020). The Relationship Between Tool Use and Prey Availability in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Northern Democratic Republic of Congo (advance online). International Journal of Primatology.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Downloads

Hicks, C., Kühl, H. S., Boesch, C., Dieguez, P., Ayimisin, A. E., Fernandez, R. M., Zungawa, D. B., Kambere, M., Swinkels, J., Menken, S. B. J., Hart, J., Mundry, R., & Roessingh, P. (2019). Bili-Uéré: A Chimpanzee Behavioural Realm in Northern Democratic Republic of Congo. Folia Primatologica,90(1), 3-64.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

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Lapuente, J., Hicks, T. C., & Linsenmair, K. E. (2017). Fluid dipping technology of chimpanzees in Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast. American Journal of Primatology,79(5): e22628.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

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Kühl, H. S., Kalan, A. K., Arandjelovic, M., Aubert, F., D'Auvergne, L., Goedmakers, A., Jones, S., Kehoe, L., Regnaut, S., Tickle, A., Ton, E., van Schijndel, J., Abwe, E. E., Angedakin, S., Agbor, A., Ayimisin, E. A., Bailey, E., Bessone, M., Bonnet, M., Brazolla, G., Ebua Buh, V., Chancellor, R., Cipoletta, C., Cohen, H., Corogenes, K., Coupland, C., Curran, B., Deschner, T., Dierks, K., Dieguez, P., Dilambaka, E., Diotoh, O., Dowd, D., Dunn, A., Eshuis, H., Fernandez, R., Ginath, Y., Hart, J., Hedwig, D., Ter Heegde, M., Hicks, T. C., Imong, I. S., Jeffery, K. J., Junker, J., Kadam, P., Kambi, M., Kienast, I., Kujirakwinja, D., Langergraber, K. E., Lapeyre, V., Lapuente, J., Lee, K., Leinert, V., Meier, A., Maretti, G., Marrocoli, S., Mbi, T. J., Mihindou, V., Möbius, Y. B., Morgan, D., Morgan, B., Mulindahabi, F., Murai, M., Niyigabae, P., Normand, E., Ntare, N., Orsmby, L. J., Piel, A., Pruetz, J., Rundus, A., Sanz, C., Sommer, V., Stewart, F., Tagg, N., Vanleeuwe, H., Vergnes, V., Willie, J., Wittig, R. M., Zuberbuehler, K., & Boesch, C. (2016). Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing. Scientific Reports,6: 22219.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

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Hicks, T. C., Tranquilli, S., Kühl, H. S., Campbell, G., Swinkels, J., Darby, L., Boesch, C., Hart, J., & Menken, S. B. (2014). Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: Discovery of a large, continuous population of Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii in the Central Uele region of northern DRC. Biological Conservation,171, 107-113.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   
Tranquilli, S., Abedi-Lartey, M., Abernethy, K., Amsini, F., Asamoah, A., Balangtaa, C., Blake, S., Bouanga, E., Breuer, T., Brncic, T. M., Campbell, G., Chancellor, R., Chapman, C. A., Davenport, T. R. B., Dunn, A., Dupain, J., Ekobo, A., Eno-Nku, M., Etoga, G., Furuichi, T., Gatti, S., Ghiurghi, A., Hashimoto, C., Hart, J. A., Head, J., Hega, M., Herbinger, I., Hicks, T. C., Holbech, L. H., Huijbregts, B., Kühl, H. S., Imong, I., Yeno, S.-L.-D., Linder, J., Marshall, P., Lero, P. M., Morgan, D., Mubalama, L., N'Goran, P. K., Nicholas, A., Nixon, S., Normand, E., Nziguyimpa, L., Nzooh-Dongmo, Z., Ofori-Amanfo, R., Ogunjemite, B. G., Petre, C.-A., Rainey, H. J., Regnaut, S., Robinson, O., Rundus, A., Sanz, C. M., Okon, D. T., Todd, A., Warren, Y., & Sommer, V. (2014). Protected areas in tropical Africa: Assessing threats and conservation activities. PLoS One,9(12): e114154.
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Maisels, F., Strindberg, S., Blake, S., Wittemyer, G., Hart, J., Williamson, E. A., Aba’a, R., Abitsi, G., Ambahe, R. D., Amsini, F., Bakabana, P. C., Hicks, C., Bayogo, R. E., Bechem, M., Beyers, R. L., Bezangoye, A. N., Boundja, P., Bout, N., Akou, M. E., Bene, L. B., Fosso, B., Greengrass, E., Grossmann, F., Ikamba-Nkulu, C., Ilambu, O., Inogwabini, B.-I., Iyenguet, F., Kiminou, F., Kokangoye, M., Kujirakwinja, D., Latour, S., Liengola, I., Mackaya, Q., Madidi, J., Madzoke, B., Makoumbou, C., Malanda, G.-A., Malonga, R., Mbani, O., Mbendzo, V. A., Ambassa, E., Ekinde, A., Mihindou, Y., Morgan, B. J., Motsaba, P., Moukala, G., Mounguengui, A., Mowawa, B. S., Ndzai, C., Nixon, S., Nkumu, P., Nzolani, F., Pintea, L., Plumptre, A., Rainey, H., de Semboli, B. B., Serckx, A., Stokes, E., Turkalo, A., Vanleeuwe, H., Vosper, A., & Warren, Y. (2013). Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa. PLoS One,8(3): e59469.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

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Hicks, C., Roessingh, P., & Menken, S. B. J. (2013). Impact of humans on long-distance communication behaviour of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Folia primatologica,84(3-5), 135-156.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   
Junker, J., Blake, S., Boesch, C., Campbell, G., du Toit, L., Duvall, C., Ekobo, A., Etoga, G., Galat-Luong, A., Gamys, J., Ganas-Swaray, J., Gatti, S., Ghiurghi, A., Granier, N., Hart, J., Head, J. S., Herbinger, I., Hicks, T. C., Huijbregts, B., Imong, I. S., Kuempel, N., Lahm, S., Lindsell, J., Maisels, F., McLennan, M., Martinez, L., Morgan, B., Morgan, D., Mulindahabi, F., Mundry, R., N'Goran, P. K., Normand, E., Ntongho, A., Okon, D. T., Petre, C.-A., Plumptre, A., Rainey, H., Regnaut, S., Sanz, C., Stokes, E., Tondossama, A., Tranquilli, S., Sunderland-Groves, J., Walsh, P., Warren, Y., Williamson, E. A., & Kuehl, H. S. (2012). Recent decline in suitable environmental conditions for African great apes. Diversity and Distributions,18(11), 1077-1091.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   
Hicks, T. C., Roessingh, P., & Menken, S. B. (2012). Reactions of Bili-Uele chimpanzees to humans in relation to their distance from roads and villages. American Journal of Primatology,74(8), 721-733.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   
Tranquilli, S., Abedi-Lartey, M., Amsini, F., Arranz, L., Asamoah, A., Babafemi, O., Barakabuye, N., Campbell, G., Chancellor, R., Davenport, T. R., Dunn, A., Dupain, J., Ellis, C., Etoga, G., Furuichi, T., Gatti, S., Ghiurghi, A., Greengrass, E., Hashimoto, C., Hart, J., Herbinger, I., Hicks, T. C., Holbech, L. H., Huijbregts, B., Imong, I., Kumpel, N., Maisels, F., Marshall, P., Nixon, S., Normand, E., Nziguyimpa, L., Nzooh-Dogmo, Z., Okon, D. T., Plumptre, A., Rundus, A., Sunderland-Groves, J., Todd, A., Warren, Y., Mundry, R., Boesch, C., & Kühl, H. S. (2012). Lack of conservation effort rapidly increases African great ape extinction risk. Conservation Letters,5(1), 48-55.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Downloads

Hicks, C. (2011). Encounters with Bili chimpanzees in the undisturbed Gangu Forest. In M. M. Robbins, & C. Boesch (Eds.), Among African Apes: Stories and Photos from the Field (pp. 43-60). Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
BibTeX   Endnote   
Hicks, C., Darby, L., Hart, J., Swinkels, J., January, N., & Menken, S. (2010). Trade in orphans and bushmeat threatens one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's most important populations of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). African Primates,7(1), 1-18.
BibTeX   Endnote   

Downloads

Plumptre A, Rose R, Nagnendo G, Williamson E, Didier K, Hart J, Mulindahabi F, Hicks C, Griffin B, Ogawa H, Nixon S, Pintea L, Vosper A, McLennan M, Amsini F, McNeilage A, Makana J. R, Kanamori M, Hernandez A, Piel A, Stewart F, Moore J, Zamma K, Nakamura M, Kamenya S, Idani G, Saka T, Yoshikawa M, Greer D, Tranquilli S., Beyers R, & Bennett, E. (2010). Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for the Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), 2010-2020. IUCN, Gland, Witzerland.
DOI  
Hicks T. C, Fouts R & Fouts D. (2009). A survey of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the selectively-logged Ngotto Forest, The Central African Republic. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2: 165-188.
DOI  
Hicks T. C, Fouts R & Fouts D. (2005). Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) tool use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic. American Journal of Primatology 65:221-237.
DOI 

Links

2016 Tedx Talk: It’s A Matter of Taste: Chimpanzee Culture in Congo. University of Warsaw, May 28, 206.

2016 NBC TV documentary (On Assignment with Richard Engel) on the Bili Chimpanzees:

Max Planck press release on the Bili chimpanzees

Guardian article on large population of chimpanzees in northern DRC

Wasmoeth Wildlife Foundation website, e-books about the Bili chimpanzees, by T. C. Hicks:

IPPL Newletter articles by T. C. Hicks about the chimpanzee victims of the Northern DRC bushmeat trade:

IBED (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics), University of Amsterdam, report on the Bili chimpanzees:

Een Vandaag: The Bili Chimpanzees:

Article from The Guardian on the chimpanzee bushmeat crisis in Northern DRC:

IBED feature on Cleve Hicks' work (Jan 2011):

Time Magazine piece (Lost Apes of the Congo) on the 2004-2005 Bili field season: