The Ape Social Mind Lab
The Ape Social Mind Lab

(PI: Catherine Crockford,Roman Wittig)

Tai chimpanzee mother and infant (Photo: Liran Samuni)

Catherine Crockford and Roman Wittig lead together the Ape Social Mind Lab at the ISC in Lyon, France, and direct the Taï Chimpanzee Project (TCP), Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. At TCP they and their team observes four habituated neighboring chimpanzee communities and one sooty mangabey group. 

In collaboration with the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Human Cognitive Science, and the Helmholtz Institute for One Health, their research group investigates questions related to the evolution of primate sociality, social cognition, communication and brain connectomics. They examine these from a) comparative and b) ontogenetic perspectives addressing questions of 1) maternal effects on the development of sociality, cognition and communication; 2) variation in communication and cognition at the species, population, ontogenetic and individual levels, and their neural correlates; 3) sociality, health and fitness.

Tai chimpanzee grooming cluster (Photo: Roman Wittig)

For their research they use long-term data sets of behavioural observations, field experiments, non-invasive hormone sampling, and brain sourcing after natural death to address research questions in chimpanzees and other wild primates. By examining the lives of primates in their natural social and ecological environment, they can assess the socio-cognitive demands required to cooperate with or out-compete others and hence the selection pressures and underlying mechanisms that have shaped primates behaviour, cognition and their brains. 

NEWS: CNRS Biology news (Jan 24, 2024)

Also see: 

Taï Chimpanzee Project

Catherine Crockford (other website

Roman Wittig (other website)

YouTube Channel of TCP

Twitter feed of TCP: @TaiChimpProject


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