Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Ph.D.

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

Education

  • Ph.D. - Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota
  • B.S. - Biology and Psychology, Duke University

Areas of Expertise

  • Chimpanzee tool-use and cognition
  • Ecosystem health
  • Chimpanzee maternal behavior
  • Great ape conservation

About Elizabeth Lonsdorf:

Elizabeth graduated from Duke University in 1996 and received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2003. As an undergraduate, she did research at the Duke University Primate Center on foraging skills of the highly endangered aye-aye. An interest in marine mammals led to research assistantships at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu and at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center.

Her graduate work at Minnesota, under the auspices of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate Studies, centered on young chimpanzee development and focused on the acquisition of foraging skills. As part of her research, Elizabeth spent several months per year studying wild chimpanzees at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. 

As an adjunct scientist in the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Elizabeth coordinates the zoo’s ape-conservation efforts in Gombe and the Republic of Congo’s Goualougo Triangle. She continues to study tool-use in chimpanzees in the wild and at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Regenstein Center for African Apes.  She is also conducting field research on ecosystem health issues and mother-infant relationships in the Gombe chimpanzees.

Elizabeth is vice president for education and outreach for the International Primatological Society and the in-situ adviser to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan®. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Section on Great Apes of the IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group and is a member of the Committee of Evolutionary Biology faculty of the University of Chicago.

Publications

Lonsdorf, E.V., Markham, A.C., Heintz, M.R., Anderson, K.E., Ciuk, D.J., Goodall, J., Murray, C.M. 2014. Sex Differences in Wild Chimpanzee Behavior Emerge during Infancy. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99099. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099099.

Finestone, E.M., Bonnie, K.E., Vreeman, V.M., Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E.V. 2012. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) food selections differ between solitary and social conditions. American Journal of Primatology, 74 S1: 61.

Bonnie, K, Ross, SR, and Lonsdorf, EV. 2012. Flexibility and persistence of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) foraging behavior in a captive environment. American Journal of Primatology, 74: 661-668.

Lonsdorf, EV and Ross, SR 2012. Socialization and Development of Behavior. In: Mitani J, Call J, Kappeler P, Palombit R, and Silk J (eds) The Evolution of Primate Societies. University of Chicago Press. pp.245-268.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Murray, C.M., Lonsdorf, E.V., Travis, D.A, Gilby, I.C., Chosy, J., Goodall, J., Pusey A.E. 2011. A retrospective analysis of factors correlated to chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) respiratory health at Gombe National Park. Ecohealth.

Kurtycz, LM, Wagner, KE, Ross, SR, Lonsdorf, EV. 2011. Behavioral effects of providing a choice for outdoor access to captive gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology, 73(S1): 68.

Hopkins, WD, Phillips, KA, Bania, A, Calcutt, SE, Gardner, M, Russell, J, Schaeffer, J, Lonsdorf, EV, Ross, SR, and Schapiro, SJ. 2011. Hand Preferences for Coordinated Bimanual Actions in 777 Great Apes: Implications for the Evolution of Handedness in Hominids. Journal of Human Evolution, 60: 605-611.

Lonsdorf, E V, S. M. Shuster, M. Lau and T. G. Whitham. 2011. How tangled is the bank? Effective community diversity and the opportunity for ecologically-dependent selection. In Review. Evolution.

Ross, SR, Vreeman, VM, Lonsdorf, EV. 2011. Specific Image Characteristics Influence Attitudes about Chimpanzee Conservation and Use as Pets. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022050.

Moore, C. T.,  E. V. Lonsdorf, M. G. Knutson, H. P. Laskowski, S. K. Lor. 2010. Adaptive Management in the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System: Science-Management Partnerships for Conservation Delivery. Journal of Environmental Management: on-line edition.

Wallis, J. and Lonsdorf, E.V. 2010. A summary of recommendations for primate conservation education. American Journal of Primatology, 72: 441-444.

Meguerditchian, A., Calcutt, S.E., Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R., and Hopkins, W.D. 2010. Captive gorillas are right-handed for bimanual feeding. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 141: 638-645.

Lonsdorf, E.V. 2010. Chimpanzee mind, behavior and conservation. In: Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R. and Matsuzawa, T. (eds) The Mind of the Chimpanzee: Experimental and Ecological Perspectives. University of Chicago Press.

Milstein, M.S., S. E. Calcutt, S. R. Ross, K. E. Bonnie, E. V. Lonsdorf. 2010. Food-sharing in a variable environment among a group of zoo-housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology, 72: S1: 70.

Rudicell, R. S., Jones, J.H., Wroblewski, E.E, Learn, G. H., Li, Y., Robertson, J., Greengrass, E., Grossmann, F., Kamenya, S., Pintea, L., Mjungu, D.C., Lonsdorf, E.V., Mosser, A., Lehman, C., Collins, D.A., Keele, B.F., Goodall, J., Pusey, A.E., Hahn, B., Wilson, M.L. 2010. Impact of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection on chimpanzee population dynamics. PLoS Pathogens, 6(9): e1001116.

Rudicell, R. S., Jones, J.H., Wroblewski, E.E., Learn, G. H., Li, Y., Robertson, J., Greengrass, E., Grossmann, F., Kamenya, S., Pintea, L., Mjungu, D.C., Lonsdorf, E.V., Mosser, A., Lehman, C., Collins, D.A., Keele, B.F., Goodall, J., Pusey, A.E., Hahn, B., Wilson, M.L. 2010. Impact of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection on chimpanzee population dynamics. PLoS Pathogens, 6(9): e1001116.

Blinkova, O, Victoria, J, Li, Y, Keele, BF, Sanz, C, Ndjango, JBN, Peeters, M, Lonsdorf, EV, Travis, DA, Wilson, MW, Pusey, AE, Hahn, BH, and Delwart, EL. 2010. Novel circular DNA viruses in stool samples of wild-living chimpanzees. Journal of General Virology, 91: 74-86.

Lonsdorf, E.V. and Bonnie, K.B. 2010. Opportunities and constraints when studying social learning: developmental approaches and social factors. Learning and Behavior, 38: 195-205.

Ross, S.R., Milstein, M.S., Calcutt, S.E., Lonsdorf, E.V. 2010. Preliminary assessment of methods used to demonstrate nut cracking behavior to five captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Folia Primatologica, 81: 224-232.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R. and Matsuzawa, T. (eds).  2010. The Mind of the Chimpanzee: Experimental and Ecological Perspectives. University of Chicago Press.

Parr, L.A, Heintz, M., Lonsdorf, E.V., Wroblewski, E. 2010. Visual kin recognition in nonhuman primates: inbreeding avoidance or male distinctiveness. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 4: 343-350.

Calcutt, S., Milstein, M. Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E.V. 2009. Acquisition of nut-cracking behaviors in a group of zoo-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology, 71, Supplement 1: 49.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R., Linick, S.A., Milstein, M.S. and Melber, T.N. 2009. An experimental, comparative investigation of tool use in chimpanzees and gorillas. Animal Behaviour, 77: 1119-1126.

Milstein, M.S., Lonsdorf, E.V. Ross, S.R., Bonnie, K.E., and Calcutt, S. 2009. Extractive tool-use by a group of zoo-housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in an variable environment: preliminary evidence of persistent strategies. American Journal of Primatology, 71, Supplement 1: 82.

Keele, B.F, Jones, J.H. , Terio, K.A., Estes, J.D., Rudicell, R.S., Wilson, M.L., Li, Y., Learn, G.H., Beasley, T.M., Schumacher-Stankey, J., Wroblewski, E., Mosser, A., Raphael, J., Kamenya, S., Lonsdorf, E.V., Travis, D.A., Mlengeya, T., Kinsel, M.J., Else, J.G., Silvestri, G., Goodall, J., Sharp, P.M., Shaw, G.M., Pusey, A.E., Hahn, B.H. 2009. Increased Mortality and AIDS-like Immunopathology in Wild Chimpanzees Infected with SIVcpz. Nature, 460: 515-519.

Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E.V., and Holmes, A.N. 2009. Interactions between indigenous wildlife and four species of zoo-housed apes in North America: Patterns of aggression and hunting. American Journal of Primatology, 71, Supplement 1: 34.

Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E.V., and Holmes, A.N. 2009. Interactions Between Zoo-Housed Great Apes and Local Wildlife. American Journal of Primatology, 71: 458-465.

Murray, C.M., Lonsdorf, E.V., Eberly, L., and Pusey, A.E. 2009. Reproductive energetics in free-living female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Behavioral Ecology, 20: 1211-1216.

Milstein, MS, Lonsdorf, EV, Ross, SR and Linick SA. 2008. A comparison between chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) social tolerance at an artificial termite mound. American Journal of Primatology, 70:58.

Travis, D., Lonsdorf, E.V., Mlengeya, T., Raphael, J. 2008. A science-based approach to managing disease risks for ape conservation. American Journal of Primatology, 70: 766-777.

Williams, J.M., Lonsdorf, E.V., Wilson, M.L., Schumacher-Stankey, J., Goodall, J, Pusey, A. E. 2008. Causes of death in the Kasekela chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. American Journal of Primatology, 70: 745-750.

Ross, S.R., Lukas, K.E., Lonsdorf, E.V., Stoinski, T.S., Hare, B., Shumaker, R. and Goodall, J. 2008. Inappropriate Use and Portrayal of Chimpanzees. Science, 319: 1487.

Foster, M.W., Linick, S.A., Milstein, M.S., Wagner, K.E., Margulis, S.W., Ross, S.R., and Lonsdorf, E.V.  2008. Motivating a new generation of primatologists: the Lincoln Park Zoo's Exploring Ape Behavior Program. American Journal of Primatology, 70:38.

Ross, S.R., Wagner, K.E., Lonsdorf, E.V. 2008. Preliminary evidence for sequential list-learning by a western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): Performance measures and analysis of errors. Primate Eye, 96.

Linick, S.A., Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R., and Milstein M.S. 2008. The development of termite-fishing skills in captive Western lowland gorilla infants (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology, 70:58.

Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E.V. and T.S. Stoinski. 2007. Assessing the welfare implications of visitors in a zoo setting: A comment on Wells (2005). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 102: 130-133.

Melber, T.M., Lonsdorf, E.V. and Ross, S.R. 2007. Social learning of tool-use skills in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology 69 (supplement 1): 100-101.

Lonsdorf, E.V. 2007. The Role of Behavioral Research in the Conservation of Chimpanzees and Gorillas. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 10(1): 71-78.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Ross, S.R. and Melber, T.N. 2006. An experimental, comparative approach to social learning of tool-use skills in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). International Journal of Primatology (supplement 1): 27.

Melber, T.N., Lonsdorf, E.V., and Ross, S.R. 2006. The Lester E. Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes: A new center for the advancement of research, conservation and education. American Journal of Primatology 68 (supplement 1):121.

Lonsdorf, E.V. 2006. The role of the mother in the acquisition of tool-use skills in wild chimpanzees. Animal Cognition, 9: 36-46.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Travis, D., Pusey, A.E. and Goodall, J. 2006. Using retrospective health data from the Gombe chimpanzee study to inform future monitoring efforts. American Journal of Primatology: Special Topics Issue on Disease Risk Analysis, 68: 897-908.

Lonsdorf, E.V. 2005. Sex differences in the development of termite-fishing skills in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Animal Behaviour, 70: 673-683.

Lonsdorf, E.V. and Hopkins, W.D. 2005. Wild chimpanzees show population-level handedness for tool use. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102: 12634-12638. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0505806102.

Lonsdorf, E.V., Pusey, A.E. and Eberly, L. 2004. Sex differences in learning in chimpanzees. Nature, 428: 715-716.

Goodall, J. and Lonsdorf, E.V. 2002. Cultures in Chimpanzees. Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of Evolution.

Gillespie, T.R., Lonsdorf, E.V., Canfield, E.P., Meyer, D.J., Nadler, Y., Raphael, J., Pusey, A.E., Pond, J., Pauley, J., Mlengeya, T., Travis, D.A. . Demographic and Ecological Affects on Patterns of Parasitism in Eastern Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 143: 534-544.