Dorien de Vries is tracing the evolutionary history of two groups of mammals that share some surprising similarities. Anthropoid primates (like humans, gorillas, baboons, and capuchins) and a group of rodents called the hystricognaths (like capybaras, guinea pigs, and naked mole rats). Their migratory histories make these animals excellent case studies for studying how ecological factors may have affected the evolution of their diversity.
Will primates move to track changes in their habitats, or might they modify their behavior, or even adapt, in place? If they do move, why? What elements of their habitats are actually changing that make it more or less preferable? These questions frame Leakey Foundation grantee Andrew Bernard's dissertation research in Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.
Leakey Foundation grantee Kelly Ostrofsky studies how wild apes move and climb in their natural habitats. As our closest living relatives, these apes provide an important comparative context for understanding how our ancestors may have moved and climbed.
Leakey Foundation grantee Amy Scott is studying orangutans in Indonesia in order to better understand how sexual conflict shapes orangutan reproductive strategies. The role of sexual conflict is often overlooked in models of human evolution, but the centrality of sexual conflict in shaping the reproductive strategies of both male and female orangutans, one of our closest living relatives, emphasizes the importance of considering how sexual conflict has shaped human evolution.