I am interested in humans’ puzzling patterns of aggression that seem to lie at two extremes of a spectrum: from highly aggressive, engaging in warfare and other destructive acts, to highly tolerant, living in societies with millions of inhabitants and exchanging goods and services with other societies at a large scale. My dissertation addressed this by comparing the reproductive strategies of our two closest living relatives, bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), which have traditionally been placed at the two opposite ends of this conflict – cooperation spectrum. While pursuing studies on our two cousins, I am now starting to work with humans in Ethiopia with the Omo Valley Project. I focus on the influence of women on between-group cooperation and conflict decisions. I am also highly interested in male-female dynamics in those three species of primates.
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