Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Kristin Bonnie, Ph.D.

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


  • Ph.D. – Emory University
  • M.A. – Emory University
  • B.S. – St. Lawrence University

About Kristin Bonnie:

Kristin has long been interested in animal behavior, and as a young child growing up in the Chicago area often visited Lincoln Park Zoo. While an undergraduate at St. Lawrence University, she completed a semester in Kenya, during which she spent several weeks tracking and observing a troop of olive baboons. The next summer, she was hired by Lincoln Park Zoo as a research fellow to document the behaviors of cotton-top tamarins both before and after several basilisk lizards were introduced to their exhibit in Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

In 2001, Kristin began her graduate work with Frans de Waal at Emory University and the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution. Her research as a graduate student centered on investigations of social learning and culture in captive brown capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees.

Since 2007, Kristin has been an assistant professor of psychology at Beloit College in Wisconsin and has returned to the zoo as an adjunct scientist with the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes. In collaboration with zoo research staff, she continues with research she began as a graduate student studying learning and cognition among chimpanzees.


Hopper, L.M., Kurtycz, L.M., Ross, S.R., & Bonnie, K.E. 2015. Captive chimpanzee foraging in a social setting: a test of problem solving, flexibility, and spatial discounting. PeerJ 3, e833.

Finestone, E., Bonnie, K.E., Hopper, L.M., Vreeman, V.M., Lonsdorf, E.V., & Ross, S.R. 2014. The interplay between individual, social, and environmental influences on chimpanzee food choices. Behavioural Processes. 105, 71-78.

Calcutt S.E., Lonsdorf E.V., Bonnie K.E., Milstein M.S., and Ross S.R. 2014. Captive chimpanzees share diminishing resources. Behaviour, 151(14):1697-1982.