Conservation & Science Staff Bios
Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Ph.D.
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
- 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.