Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Crickette Sanz, Ph.D.

  Adjunct Scientist
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes


  • Ph.D. – Washington University in St. Louis
  • M.A. – Washington University in St. Louis
  • M.S. – Central Washington University
  • B.A. – Central Washington University

About Crickette Sanz:

Crickette began her studies of great apes as an undergraduate at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In 1993, she applied to the volunteer program at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute and continued to work with these apes throughout her master’s degree in experimental psychology.

Crickette continued to follow her interest in studying chimpanzees during her doctoral studies in biological anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her dissertation research focused on the behavioral ecology of wild chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo.  After obtaining her Ph.D., she spent five years working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Primatology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Since 2009, Crickette has been an assistant professor of anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis.

She and David Morgan are co-directors of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project in northern Republic of Congo. In 1999, the project was initiated to increase our knowledge of the central subspecies of chimpanzee and use this information to address the threats facing these apes in western equatorial Africa. The scope of the project was recently expanded to include a focus on the western lowland gorillas that coexist with chimpanzees throughout most of central Africa.

Although northern Congo has long been considered a stronghold for ape conservation, great apes in this region are at risk of disease epidemics, commercial bushmeat hunting and mechanized logging. The Goualougo Triangle Ape Project’s objectives involve long-term, site-based research and conservation activities that have the aim of effectively addressing the major threats to great apes in the Congo Basin.

Crickette is an active member of the research community at the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes. As an adjunct scientist, she has worked in conjunction with Lincoln Park Zoo staff to establish the Goualougo Video Laboratory at the Lester E. Fisher Center. To date, several years of video footage and observational health data from ape field work in Congo have been screened and archived by staff and interns at the Lincoln Park Zoo.


Wilson, M. L., Boesch, C., Fruth, B., Furuichi, T., Gilby, I. C., Hashimoto, C., … Wrangham, R. W. 2014. Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts. Nature, 513(7518), 414–417. doi:10.1038/nature13727.