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Anthropological Institute and Museum (Established 1899)
Information Agency or Museum
Web Site:

Director: Carel van Schaik
Phone: +41 1 635 54 11   Fax: +41 1 635 68 04   E-Mail:
Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zurich CH 8057 SWITZERLAND
Department: Department of Biology
Institution: University of Zurich

Mission: Work at the Anthropological Institute and Museum is aimed at understanding the origins and evolution of human morphology and behavior. For both research areas we have a dual task. First, we need to identify the unique features of humans and reconstruct their evolutionary history. Second, we then need to develop explanations for these novel features based on general biological theories, built up from studies of living and fossil primates and other animals.

Principal Research Programs: Current research focuses on: Social evolution in primates: origin of technology and culture, life history, cooperation and sexual behavior; Cognition and brain size; Mating systems, social organization and paternity in primates; Conservation biology and genetics of primates; Functional morphology of primates; Palaeanthropology.

Training Opportunities: Undergraduate, Graduate, Postgraduate; Financial support is occasionally available. Field work opportunities eventually available.

Number of Staff: 50

Associated Field Sites: Field Sites: Tuanan and Suaq, Indonesia. Contact: Carel van Schaik ( Focus: We study the correlated evolution between cognitive abilities and slow life history and the development of ecological competence in wild orangutans in an attempt to identify the pace-makers for the evolution of slow-paced life histories. Other projects focus on coalitions, and on infanticide and sexual counterstrategies. Paleaoanthropological studies include projects in Syria and South Africa. Contact: Peter Schmid (

Last Updated: 2009-05-28

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