Larissa Swedell

(PhD Columbia Univ 2000; Assoc Prof) Primate ecology, primate social behavior, hamadryas baboons; Ethiopia, Africa (

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Program in Anthropology, and core faculty, New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP).

Research Interests

My research focuses on the ecology and behavior of a population of wild hamadryas baboons inhabiting the lowlands of the northern Rift Valley of Ethiopia. One of the primary goals of my research since 1996, now known as the Filoha Hamadryas Project, has been to elucidate the social and reproductive strategies of females in what has been considered to be one of the most male-dominated primate species. In collaboration with students and colleagues, I am currently focusing on hamadryas baboon ecology as well as the role of follower males in hamadryas social organization. In addition, I am using genetic data to determine kinship relationships in order to shed light on paternity of offspring, reproductive strategies of males and females, the genetic structure of social units, and patterns of dispersal and philopatry among hamadryas baboons. Most recently, my research has also included hypotheses related to the socioendocrinology of males and females, conducted in collaboration with a colleague at the University of Michigan. In addition to my ongoing research on hamadryas baboons, I have also recently begun comparative work on chacma baboons in South Africa. I have established a collaborative research partnership with colleagues in South Africa, formalized as the Cape Peninsula Baboon Research Unit, and am currently developing projects related to the effects of social structure, social behavior, and human disturbance on stress, reproduction, and sexual strategies.

Representative Publications

  • in press “Composition and Seasonality of Diet in Wild Hamadryas Baboons: Preliminary Findings from Filoha” [with co-authors G. Hailemeskel and A. Schreier],Folia Primatologica.
  • in press “Male Aggression Towards Females in Hamadryas Baboons: Conditioning and Coercion” [with co-author A. Schreier] IN Sexual Coercion in Primates: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females, edited by M. Muller and R. Wrangham. Harvard University Press.
  • 2006 Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives. L. Swedell and S. Leigh, editors. Springer, New York.
  • 2006 “Perspectives on Reproduction and Life History in Baboons” [with co-author S. Leigh] IN Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives, edited by L. Swedell & S. Leigh, pp. 1-15. Springer, New York.
  • 2006 “Infant Mortality, Paternity Certainty, and Female Reproductive Strategies in Hamadryas Baboons” [with co-author J. Saunders] IN Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives, edited by L. Swedell & S. Leigh, pp. 19-51. Springer, New York.
  • 2006 Strategies of Sex and Survival in Hamadryas Baboons: Through a Female Lens, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • 2003 “Infant Mortality After Takeovers in Wild Ethiopian Hamadryas Baboons” [with co-author T. Tesfaye]. American Journal of Primatology 60: 113-118.
  • 2002 “Affiliation Among Females in Wild Hamadryas Baboons,” International Journal of Primatology 23:1205-1226. * 2002 “Ranging Behavior, Group Size, and Behavioral Flexibility in Ethiopian Hamdryas Baboons,” Folia Primatologica 73: 95-103.
  • 2001 “Dispersal and Philopatry in Hamadryas Baboons: A Re-Evaluation Based on Behavioral and Genetic Evidence” [with co-author T. Woolley-Barker] in American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 32: 146.
  • 2000 “Two Takeovers in Wild Hamadryas Baboons,” Folia Primatologica 71:169-172.

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