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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology


To understand the evolutionary origin of the human mind we identify both similarities an differences between human and nonhuman primates. We are particularly interested how social, motivational and cognitive processes interact in the “big-C” contexts in which humans excel: Cooperation, Communication, Cognition and Culture.

The callitrichid monkeys are an important model for human cognitive evolution, because like in humans – but unlike in other great apes - fathers and other group members are essential to successfully rear the offspring. By systematically comparing these cooperative breeders with more independently breeding primates, we can identify processes that are systematically associated with shared infant care, and how they impact performance in big-C contexts.
We thus study the cooperatively breeding callitrichid marmosets, both in the wild and in captivity, but also other primate species.