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Dr Cyril C. Grueter

Senior Lecturer, Biological Anthropologist

I'm a biological anthropologist, primatologist and behavioral ecologist. My primary research interests lie at the interface of behavioral ecology and evolutionary anthropology and include the evolution of primate/human sociality. My particular interests revolve around the evolutionary causes and consequences of meta-group social organization (tolerant and cooperative relationships between groups) and multilevel societies (the organization of core social units into a larger collective encompassing multiple nested social levels). A second line of research focuses on how certain primates are able to cope with the demands of living in marginal montane environments. 


I am currently involved in ongoing field research projects on snub-nosed monkeys in China as well as chimpanzees in Rwanda.



  • Comparative perspectives on cultural ornamentation in human societies (2022-) 


  • Evolution of primate/human multilevel societies (2003-ongoing)


  • Evolutionary origins of prosociality and parochial altruism (2016-ongoing)


  • Comparative research on inter-group dynamics in primates (2013-ongoing)


  • Chimpanzee adaptations to a high-elevation environment in Rwanda (2016-ongoing) 

  • Determinants of band formation in Angolan colobus monkeys (2015-2019) 


  • Social dynamics in Chinese golden snub-nosed monkeys (2015-ongoing)  


  • Inter-group interactions in mountain gorillas in Rwanda (2014-2018) 


  • Feeding ecology of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes (Completed) 


  • Social organization and behavioral adaptations in Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys (Completed) 





My Latest Research

Determinants of band formation in Angolan colobus monkeys


Angolan colobus monkeys in Rwanda live in supertroops of several hundred individuals. However, very little is known about the ecological preconditions (resource abundance and distribution) that allow these primates to live in such extremely large groups and nothing is known about how these supergroups are internally structured. Our field research is designed to fill this knowledge gap.

Social dynamics in golden snub-nosed monkeys


Golden snub-nosed monkeys in China form multilevel societies characterized by one-male units embedded within a larger bands. The functional significance of band formation is not yet fully understood, but it could offer individuals better protection from takeover attempts by bachelor males through safety-in-numbers or collective defence. The social dynamics of bachelor groups and reproductive groups are being explored in collaboration with researchers in China.

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