Ape Attachement & Early Life Adversity Research

Social bonding success in life impacts on health, survival and fitness. It is proposed that early and later social experience as well as heritable factors determine social bonding abilities in adulthood, although the relative influence of each is unclear. In humans, the resulting uncertainty likely impedes psychological and psychiatric assessment and therapy. One problem hampering progress for human studies is that social bonding success is hard to objectively quantify, particularly in adults. Here we propose to directly address this problem by determining the key influences on social bonding abilities in chimpanzees, our closest living relative, where social bonding success can be objectively quantified, and variation in underlying hormonal and cognitive mechanisms can be examined.

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Selected Publications

Bründl, A. C., Tkaczynski, P. J., Kohou, G., Boesch, C., Wittig, R. M., & Crockford, C. (2021).

Systematic mapping of developmental milestones in wild chimpanzees. Developmental Science,24(1): e12988.

Crockford, C., Samuni, L., Vigilant, L., & Wittig, R. M. (2020).

Postweaning maternal care increases male chimpanzee reproductive success. Science Advances,6(38): eaaaz5746.

Tkaczynski, P. J., Mielke, A., Samuni, L., Preis, A., Wittig, R. M., & Crockford, C. (2020).

Long-term repeatability in social behaviour suggests stable social phenotypes in wild chimpanzees. Royal Society Open Science,7(8): 200454

Samuni, L., Tkaczynski, P. J., Deschner, T., Löhrrich, T., Wittig, R. M., & Crockford, C. (2020).

Maternal effects on offspring growth indicate post-weaning juvenile dependence in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). Frontiers in Zoology,17: 1.