15.08.2020 - 07:51
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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

Barbara Fruth

Guest Scientist

Associate Professor (Reader) in Primate Behaviour and Conservation, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Director of the LuiKotale Bonobo Project (LKBP), Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, B

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

phone: +49 341 3550 829
office: Alte Messe, room 2.80 
e-mail: fruth@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests

I am a behavioural ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist. Since 1990, I am studying wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bonobos evolved striking peculiarities contrary to biological paradigms, as well as to its sister species, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). They have a social organisation, with cooperation and bonding among females despite female exogamy; a remarkable mating behaviour, with a broad spectrum of sexual interactions including social sex; moderate aggression, with a resulting female dominated social structure; extensive food sharing of animals and plants; and a wondrous lack of material culture.

I am interested in bonobo social behaviour, their ecological constraints and their role within the ecosystem. I am specifically interested in their life history with focus on their health status as a direct measure of fitness. In this context, I am investigating the transition from plants and other items ingested as food to those used for medicinal purpose. I follow an interdisciplinary approach integrating herbaria, analyses of plant’s phytochemical and pharmacological properties, and their effect on growth, health and fitness of individual bonobos.

Another focus is conservation. The LuiKotale Bonobo project is very remote, and adjacent to Salonga National Park, a World Heritage Site of Nature. In close collaboration with the local population, I develop strategies conserving habitat and species suitable as model for large scale protection.