Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 258
e-mail: ruth_sonnweber@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de
Why do some have many friends, and others do not? Is it always advantageous to have many friends or are different social phenotypes adaptive in different social, environmental, and life history settings?
In my research I explore functional and mechanistic aspects of social bonding in non-human primate societies. Particularly I am interested in the interplay between hormone and social bonding patterns, in the question how these two traits vary within and between individuals, and how they (co-)evolve in different societies of primate species. Furthermore, I investigate how social competence relates to cognitive and communication skills. To address these questions I work on behavioural data and (non-invasively collected) hormonal samples of various non-human primate species.
Since May 2016 I am employed at the Department of Primatology of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Within the ERC project Ape Attachment (awarded to Catherine Crockford) we explore the role of heritability, early-life conditions, and social opportunities on social bonding patterns in communities of wild chimpanzees inhabiting the Tai forest (Ivory Coast) and the Budongo forest (Uganda). Furthermore, we are interested in how these patterns relate to hormonal profiles (glucocorticoids and oxytocin in particular) and communication skills.