Stephen Ross, Ph.D.

Department

Conservation & Science

Center

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

Title

Director

Education

Ph.D. – Providing Opportunities for Naturalistic Behavior and the Implications for Captive Nonhuman Primate Management, Behavior and Welfare, University of Copenhagen
M.A. – Differential Rearing Effects on Chimpanzee Behavior, University of Chicago
B.S. – University of Guelph

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More Information

Areas of Expertise

  • Chimpanzee behavior
  • Comparative ape cognition
  • Animal welfare

About

In 2000, Steve was hired by Lincoln Park Zoo as a behavior specialist. He conducted a wide breadth of studies that helped influence the design of what became the award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes, and continues that line of research today in his applied research with chimpanzees, gorillas, and Japanese macaques.

Though Steve has published papers on species as diverse as polar bears, otters, and humans (zoo visitors), his primary focus is improving the welfare of chimpanzees. In 2009, these interests culminated with the initiation of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE, which seeks to assess and improve the housing and management of chimpanzees living as pets and performers and in other suboptimal situations. His research on how the inappropriate portrayal of chimpanzees in the popular media affects public attitudes of this species is a unique contribution to these efforts.

With over 25 years of experience studying animal behavior, Steve is enthusiastically supportive of Lincoln Park Zoo’s approach to scientific-based decision-making. He focuses on using science to influence policy that will have positive effects for animal welfare. Studying ape behavior and cognition provides him with unique insights into how these fascinating animals interact with their environments and how to best transform these areas to support their complex needs.

Publications

  • Norconk, M. A., Atsalis, S., Tully, G., Santillán, A. M., Waters, S., Knott, C. D., Ross, S. R., Shanee, S., & Stiles, D. 2020. Reducing the primate pet trade: Actions for primatologists. American Journal of Primatology, 82(1), e23079. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23079.
  • Frankel, J. S., Mallott, E. K., Hopper, L. M., Ross, S. R., & Amato, K. R. 2019. The effect of captivity on the primate gut microbiome varies with host dietary niche. American Journal of Primatology 81(12), e23061. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23061.
  • Cronin, K., & Ross, S. 2019. A cautionary note on the use of behavioural diversity (H-Index) in animal welfare science. Animal Welfare, 28, 157–164. https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.28.2.157.
  • Egelkamp, C. L., Jacobson, S. L., Cronin, K. A., Wagner, K. E., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. 2019. A Comparison of Sequential Learning Errors Made by Apes and Monkeys Reveals Individual but not Species Differences in Learning. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 32. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/024578f5.
  • Egelkamp, C. L., & Ross, S. R. Egelkamp, C. L., & Ross, S. R. 2019. A review of zoo-based cognitive research using touchscreen interfaces. Zoo Biology, 38(2), 220–235. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21458.
  • Ross, S. R., Hansen, B. K., Hopper, L. M., & Fultz, A. 2019. A unique zoo-sanctuary collaboration for chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology 81(5): e22941.
  • Hopper, L. M., Egelkamp, C. L., Fidino, M., & Ross, S.R. 2019. An assessment of touchscreens for testing primate food preferences and valuations. Behavior Research Methods, 51(2), 639–650. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-018-1065-0.
  • ManyPrimates, Altschul, D.M., Beran, M.J., Bohn, M., Call, J., DeTroy, S., Duguid, S.J., Egelkamp, C.E., Fichtel, C., Fischer, J., Flessart, M., Hanus, D., Haun, D.B.M., Haux, L.M., Hernandez-Aguilar, R., Herrmann, E., Hopper, L.M., Joly, M., Kano, F., Keupp, S., Melis, A.P., Rodrigo, A.M., Ross, S.R., Sánchez-Amaro, A., Sato, Y., Schmitt, V., Schweinfurth, M.K., Seed, A.M., Taylor, D., Völter, C.J., Warren, E., & Watzek, J. 2019. Establishing an infrastructure for collaboration in primate cognition research. PLoS ONE, 14(10), e0223675. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223675.
  • Bonnie, K. E., Bernstein-Kurtycz, L. M., Shender, M. A., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. 2019. Foraging in a social setting: a comparative analysis of captive gorillas and chimpanzees. Primates, 60(2), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-018-00712-x.
  • Jacobson, S. L., Kwiatt, A. C., Ross, S. R., & Cronin, K. A. 2019. The effects of cognitive testing on the welfare of zoo-housed Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 212: 90–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.12.014.
  • Woods, J. M., Ross, S. R., & Cronin, K. A. 2019. The Social Rank of Zoo-Housed Japanese Macaques is a Predictor of Visitor-Directed Aggression. Animals, 9(6), 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060316.
  • Hopper, L. M., Cronin, K. A., & Ross, S. R. 2018. A multi-institutional assessment of a short-form personality questionnaire for use with macaques. Zoo Biology, 37: 281-289. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21439.
  • Hansen, B., Fultz, A., Hopper, L., & Ross, S.  2018. An evaluation of video cameras for collecting observational data on sanctuary‐housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Zoo Biology, 37(3), 156–161. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21410.
  • Cronin, K. A., Bethell, E. J., Jacobson, S. L., Egelkamp, C., Hopper, L. M., & Ross, S. R. 2018. Evaluating mood changes in response to anthropogenic noise with a response-slowing task in three species of zoo-housed primates. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 5(2), 209–221. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.05.02.03.2018.
  • Fisken, F. A., Carlsen, F., Elder, M., Jongh, T. de, Pereboom, J. J. M., Pohl, B., Rietkerk, F., Ross, S.R., Taniguchi, A. 2018. Global population records and managed-programme updates for the great apes: short report. International Zoo Yearbook, 52(1), 212–226. https://doi.org/10.1111/izy.12206.
  • Finestone, E. M., Brown, M. H., Ross, S. R., & Pontzer, H. 2018. Great ape walking kinematics: Implications for hominoid evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166(1), 43–55. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23397.
  • Kozma, E. E., Webb, N. M., Harcourt-Smith, W. E. H., Raichlen, D. A., D’Août, K., Brown, M. H., Finestone, E.M., Ross, S.R., Aerts, P., Pontzer, H. 2018. Hip extensor mechanics and the evolution of walking and climbing capabilities in humans, apes, and fossil hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201715120. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1715120115.
  • Altschul, D. M., Hopkins, W. D., Herrelko, E. S., Inoue-Murayama, M., Matsuzawa, T., King, J. E., Ross, S.R., Weiss, A. 2018. Personality links with lifespan in chimpanzees. ELife, 7, e33781. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.33781.
  • Saiyed ST, Liubicich RC, Fidino M, Ross SR.   2018. Stillbirth rates across three ape species in accredited American zoos. American Journal of Primatology. 2018; e22870. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22870.
  • Ang, M. Y. L., Shender, M. A., & Ross, S. R. 2017. Assessment of behavior and space use before and after forelimb amputation in a zoo-housed chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Zoo Biology 36: 5–10.
  • Jacobson, S. L., Freeman, H. D., Santymire, R. M., & Ross, S. R. 2017. Atypical experiences of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are associated with higher hair cortisol concentrations as adults. Royal Society Open Science, 4(12), 170932. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170932.
  • Howard, L. H., Wagner, K. E., Woodward, A. L., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. 2017. Social Models Enhance Apes’ Memory for Novel Events. Scientific Reports, 7, 40926.
  • Jacobson, SL, Hopper, LM, Shender, MA, Ross, SR, Leahy, M & McNernie, J. 2017. Zoo visitors’ perceptions of chimpanzee welfare are not affected by the provision of artificial environmental enrichment devices in a naturalistic exhibit. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 5(1), 56–61.
  • Wagner, K.E., Hopper, L.M., & Ross, S.R. 2016. Asymmetries in the production of self-directed behaviour by chimpanzees and gorillas during a computerized cognitive test. Animal Cognition. 19(2), 343-350.
  • Freeman, H.D., Ross, SR, Weiss, A. 2016. Atypical Early Histories Predict Lower Extraversion in Captive Chimpanzees. Developmental Psychobiology 58: 519-527.
  • Hopper, L.M., Shender, M.A., & Ross, S.R. 2016. Behavioral research as physical enrichment for captive chimpanzees. Zoo Biology 35(4), 293-297.
  • Jacobson S, Ross SR and Bloomsmith MA. 2016. Characterizing abnormal behavior in a large population of zoo-housed chimpanzees: Prevalence and potential influencing factors. PeerJ 4:e2225 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2225.
  • Ross SR and Shender MA. 2016. Daily travel distances of zoo-housed chimpanzees and gorillas: Implications for welfare assessments and space requirements. Primates 57: 395-401.
  • Bonnie KE, Ang MY and Ross SR. 2016. Effects of crowd size on exhibit use by and behavior of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) at an accredited zoo. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 178: 102-110.
  • Cronin, K.A., West, V., & Ross, S.R. 2016. Investigating the relationship between welfare and rearing young in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 181, 166-172.
  • Pontzer H, Brown MH, Luke A, Dugas L, Schoeller D, Raichlen DA, Dunsworth H, Hare B, Schroepfer-Walker K, Thompson ME, Ross SR. 2016. Metabolic Acceleration and the Evolution of Human Brain Size and Life History. Nature doi:10.1038/nature17654.
  • Meals LC, Ross SR, Eng C and Gamble KC. 2016. Prospective population management for Hepatitis B in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) SSP population. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 47(3): 711-716.
  • Hopper, L.M., Freeman, H.D., & Ross, S.R. 2016. Reconsidering coprophagy as an indicator of negative welfare for captive chimpanzees. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 176, 112-119.
  • Ross, S.R., & Hopper, L.M. 2016. Seeking a deeper understanding of welfare-related behaviors. Connect. May 2016 Issue, 8-9.
  • 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.
  • Faughn C, Marrus N, Shuman J, Ross SR, Constantino J, Pruett JR, and Povinelli DJ. 2015. Chimpanzee Social Responsiveness Scale detects individual variation in social responsiveness for captive chimpanzees. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 45(5): 1483-1488.
  • Hopper, L.M., Tennie, C., Ross, S.R. & Lonsdorf, E.V. 2015. Chimpanzees create and modify probe-tools functionally: A study with zoo-housed chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology 77(2), 162-170.
  • Leighty, K. A., Valuska, A. J., Grand, A. P., Bettinger, T. L., Mellen, J. D., Ross, S. R., … Ogden, J. J. 2015. Impact of Visual Context on Public Perceptions of Non-Human Primate Performers. PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0118487.
  • Leeds A, Boyer D, Ross SR and Lukas KE. 2015. The effects of group type and young silverbacks on wounding rates in Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) groups in North American zoos. Zoo Biology 34(4): 296-304.
  • Price, A., Boeving, E.R., Shender, M.A., Ross, S.R. 2015. Understanding the Effectiveness of Demonstration Programs. Journal of Museum Education, 40(1),46-54.
  • Kurtycz, L.M. and Ross S.R. 2015. Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) birth pattern and human presence in zoological settings. Zoo Biology 34: 518-521.
  • 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.
  • Lukas, K.E., and Ross, S.R. 2014. A comparison of visitor knowledge and attitudes towards African apes before and after exhibit renovation. Anthrozoos, 27(3): 435-455.
  • 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.
  • Jacobs RM, Ross SR, Wagner KE, Leahy M, Meiers ST, Santymire RM 2014. Evaluating the physiological and behavioral response of a male and female gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) during an introduction. Zoo Biology, 33(5), 394–402.
  • Pontzer, H., Raichlen, DA, Gordon, AD, Schroepfer, KK, Hare, B, Dunsworth, HM, Wood, BM, Isler, K, Burkart, J, Irwin, M, Shumaker, RW, Lonsdorf, EV, Ross, SR. 2014. Primate Energy Expenditure and Life History. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(4): 1433-1437.
  • Kurtycz LM, Shender MA, Ross SR   2014. The birth of an infant decrease group spacing in a zoo-housed lowland gorilla group (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Zoo Biology 33(5): 471-474.
  • Kurtycz, LM, Wagner, KE and Ross, SR. 2014. The choice to access outdoor areas affects the behavior of zoo-housed great apes. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.17(3):185-97.
  • Freeman HD, Ross SR 2014. The Impact of Atypical Early Histories on Pet or Performer Chimpanzees. PeerJ 2:e579; DOI 10.7717/peerj.579.
  • Hopper, L.M., Morgan, D.B., & Ross, S.R. 2014. The next direction for primatology? A commentary on Setchell (2013). International Journal of Primatology. 35(2), 341-348.
  • E. R. Boeving, M. A. Shender, K. E. Wagner, S. R. Ross 2013. A behavioral evaluation of pregnant zoo-housed gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 77.
  • Chelluri, G.I., Ross, S.R. and Wagner, K.E. 2013. Behavioral correlates and welfare implications of informal interactions between caretakers and zoo-housed chimpanzees and gorillas. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 147: 306-315.
  • S. E. Henley, M. A. Shender, K. E. Wagner, S. R. Ross 2013. Behavioral development in a new group of bachelor gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 77.
  • Kurtycz, L.M., Shender, M.A., & Ross, S.R. 2013. Changes in western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) group cohesion following the birth of a baby. American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 89.
  • L. M. Kurtycz, M. A. Shender, S. R. Ross 2013. Changes in western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) group cohesion following the birth of a baby. American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 89.
  • K.E. Wagner, S. R. Ross 2013. Female sexual state influences the cognitive test performance of zoo-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) but not gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 44.
  • M. H. Brown, M. A. Shender, K. E. Wagner, S. R. Ross 2013. Potential factors associated with stereotyped ear-covering behavior in an adolescent male gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology. 75 (S1), 49.
  • Ross, S.R. 2013. Preface to the Special Issue on the Welfare of Zoo Animals. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 147: 306-315.
  • Ross, S.R. 2013. Questioning the use of privately-owned apes in Anthropological Research. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 152: 313-314.
  • Hopper, L.M., Bonnie, K.E., Kurtycz, L.M., & Ross, S.R. 2013. Testing for chimpanzee innovation and social learning in a zoo setting. American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 56.
  • L. M. Hopper, K. E. Bonnie, L. M. Kurtycz, S. R. Ross 2013. Testing for chimpanzee innovation and social learning in a zoo setting. American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 56.
  • M. A. Shender, S. R. Ross 2013. The effects of available space on a group of captive gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) living in a naturalistic zoo-setting. American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 51.
  • H. D. Freeman, S. R. Ross 2013. The relationship between early human exposure and current behavior in former pet/performer chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 46.
  • B. I. Neier, D. Boyer, K. E. Lukas, S. R. Ross 2013. Wounding rates in bachelor and mixed-sex grouping of lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology. 75(S1), 61.
  • Wagner, K.E., and Ross, S.R. 2012. Association between cognitive test performance and disposition to arousal in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology, 74 S1: 66.
  • Fitzpatrick, M.C., Wagner K.E., Ross S.R. 2012. Behavioral changes associated with sexual state in zoo-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). American Journal of Primatology, 74 S1: 39.
  • Jean, S.M., Preuss, T., Stobert, E., Anderson, D., Sharma, P., Ross, S.R., Stroud, F.C. 2012. Case Report: Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke) in Captive, Group-Housed, Female Chimpanzees. Comparative Medicine, 62 (4): 1-8.
  • 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.
  • Ross, S.R., and Anderson, K.E. 2012. Estimating daily travel distances for captive apes. American Journal of Primatology, 74 S1: 35.
  • 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.
  • Shender, M.S., Anderson, K.E., Ross, S.R. 2012. Group cohesion in captive gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) living in a naturalistic zoo exhibit. American Journal of Primatology, 74 S1: 75.
  • 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.