Research Groups

Max Planck Research Groups

Max Planck Research Group for Ancient Environmental Genomics

The Max Planck Research Group for Ancient Environmental Genomics (starting: February 2022) focuses on human history, with a particular focus on ancient DNA extracted from sediments

Lise Meitner Research Groups

Lise Meitner Research Group Technological Primates

Tool use paved the way for human development in an evolutionary trajectory. Surprisingly, very little is known regarding the origin and evolution of human tool use. Lydia Luncz studies non-human primates as a model for potential tool behaviour of early hominins. Comparisons between species help to expand our knowledge regarding the adaptive significance of tool use and substantially further our understanding of the cultural and behavioral evolution of humans.

Lise Meitner Research Group BirthRites - Cultures of Reproduction

The BirthRites independent research group (started: December 2019) focuses on the anthropology of reproduction and its implications for cultural evolution and demography.

Research groups hosted by the institute

ERC project: The influence of early life experience on later social skills in chimpanzee

In mammals, social bonding success in life impacts on health, survival and fitness. We examine the extent to which early and later social experience, and heritable factors, determine social bonding abilities in adulthood. We examine how variation in social bonding behaviour, and underlying hormonal and cognitive mechanisms, impact on reproductive success in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees.

Former Research groups

Max Planck Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology (MPWC)

The Max Planck Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology (MPWC) is an interdisciplinary cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, Germany, and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Rehovot, Israel. The central goal of the MPWC is to better understand human evolution by drawing on expertise from archaeology, anthropology, biology, physics and material sciences.

Max Planck Research Group on Single Cell Genomics

The Max Planck Research Group on Single Cell Genomics uses single cell genomics data to reconstruct developmental pathways, lineage hierarchies, and tissue heterogeneity in humans. We integrate single cell measurements with signatures of positive selection and comparisons with great apes to understand the molecular mechanisms that define the modern human condition.

Primate Behavioural Ecology

We are interested in the interplay between behavior, ecology, genetics and fitness which we investigate in several species of primates (e.g., rhesus macaques, crested macaques, Southern pig-tailed macaques, vervet monkeys and Sumatran orangutan), but also in other mammals (e.g. meerkats, Damaraland mole-rats) and birds (e.g. barn swallows).

The Cuvette Centrale as Reservoir of Medicinal Plants

Our research of terrestrial biodiversity intends to identify and quantify the flora of specific sites in the Central Congo Basin (Cuvette Centrale) with respect to the historic, current and potential future anthropogenic use. In the long run, identification of these socio-cultural and economic aspects of biodiversity may help to better conserve endangered refuges of local and global significance.