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The Secret Lives of Female Chimpanzees

Speaker(s): Melissa Emery Thompson

Chicago, IL

August 17, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm




Female apes are easily overshadowed by their larger, more boisterous male counterparts. Thus, the nature of female social relationships has been shrouded in mystery. The subtlety of social behavior in female chimpanzees belies a complex set of strategies that allow them to navigate the costs and benefits of group life. By combining decades of behavioral research with innovative non-invasive approaches, Dr. Emery Thompson and her colleagues at the Kibale Chimpanzee Project have uncovered fascinating details about the secret lives of female chimpanzees. She will discuss how females negotiate rivalries to obtain the resources they need to reproduce, the chaotic, and sometimes violent, nature of sexual relationships with males, and the unexpected ways these relationships change with age. Along the way, you will learn about the challenges and rewards of studying this fascinating species in the wild.

Tickets for this event are $12 for general admission or $6 for students with a student ID.

This program is presented in partnership with the Chicago Council of Science and Technology.


New-C2ST-Wordmark-logoThe Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST) believes that science is for everyone. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of enhancing the public’s understanding of science and technology and their impact on society.





August 17, 2016
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Cindy Pritzker Auditorium in the Harold Washington Center of the Chicago Public Library
400 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60605 United States
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Melissa Emery Thompson

Melissa Emery Thompson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She received her PhD in biological anthropology from Harvard in 2005. She has studied chimpanzee behavior and biology for eighteen years and serves on the board of directors of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, one of the longest-running continuous field studies of great apes. While Dr. Emery Thompson is broadly interested in social behavior, her expertise is in developing and applying non-invasive methodologies for monitoring health and reproductive function in wild primates (and humans!). The Leakey Foundation has played an important role in supporting this research.

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