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Madita Zetzsche

Position: PhD Student

Research Group "Primate Behavioural Ecology"
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6 
D-04103 Leipzig 


University of Leipzig Faculty of Life Science 
Institute of Biology 
Behavioral Ecology Research Group 
Talstrasse 33 
D-04103 Leipzig 

e-mail: madita.zetzscheuni-leipzigde

Research interests

Female primates versatilely advertise their reproductive state using different sensory modalities, yet research in this context has traditionally focused on visual fertility signals. The exact timing of ovulation, however, might not always be precisely reflected in these signals. Olfactory cues, in this context, may provide additional information on the female reproductive state, but olfaction in great apes is still scarcely studied. I aim to investigate the chemical composition of female body odour in humans (Homo sapiens) and Western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) to better understand its role in their fertility advertisement. Therefore, I will collect cycle-related body odour samples using thermal desorption tubes, as a method novel to study mammalian body odour, to capture airborne volatile organic compounds which will be complemented by hormonal data on menstrual cycle stages and quality.