21.04.2021 - 02:07
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Department of Primatology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (0)341 3550 - 299

Tobias Deschner

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

phone: +49 341 3550 207
e-mail: deschner@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Individual great apes and humans display extraordinary variation in their hormonal profiles, and I am interested in how these patterns may be shaped by ecological and social factors. For example, species may have different endocrinological profiles in response to varying food availability, and food availability in turn is also linked to social behaviors, such as the use of flexible fission fusion grouping patterns. In addition to reflecting energy metabolism, hormonal profiles also give insights into reproductive states and associated behaviors.

My primary interest is in wild populations of great apes across Africa, which are increasingly affected by human activities and so the impact of human disturbance on stress levels and general health must also be considered.

Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

Primate endocrinology and behavioral ecology


2004 - PresentLeader of the Behavioral Endocrinology Lab, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Primatology.
1998-2004Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Primatology, Germany, PhD thesis in 2004: “The Function of Sexual Swellings in wild West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus)”, Supervisor: Christophe Boesch
1992-1993Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, graduate studies in animal behavior
1991-1996University of Hamburg, Germany, graduate studies, diploma thesis 1996: social behavior of the olive colobus, Colobus verus (VAN BENEDEN 1838) in the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast, Supervisor: Jakob Parzefall
1989-1991Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, undergraduate studies

Field and laboratory research experience

I have 24 months experience in observational field research on wild chimpanzees at Taï, Ivory Coast. To train students in the collection of urine and feces samples as well as behavioral data, I have visited a number of field sites where I have observed east African chimpanzees at Budongo, Uganda, bonobos at Lui Kotal, DRC, and white-faced capuchins at Lomas Barbudal, Costa Rica. I gathered experience working in the endocrinology laboratory of Keith Hodges and Michael Heistermann at the German Primate Center in Göttingen and, since 2005, have ran the endocrinology lab in the Primatology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. I am skilled in the laboratory techniques required for extracting and analyzing hormones derived from non-invasively collected source materials such as urine, feces, and saliva, including EIA and LC-MS techniques.

Teaching Experience

2007 - PresentLecturer, International Max Planck Institute Research School of Human Origins.
2006 – 2008Visiting Lecturer, University of Leipzig Germany.
2005 - PresentThesis supervisor of diploma students in the Behavioral Endocrinology Laboratory and co-supervisor of PhD students in the Primatology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Ad hoc reviewer:


  • Hormones and Behavior
  • Physiology and Behavior
  • International Journal of Primatology
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Biological Letters
  • American Journal of Primatology
  • PLoS ONE

Grant applications:

  • The Leakey Foundation
  • The National Science Foundation
  • National Geographic


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