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ATTENTION: This job expired Dec. 25, 2012 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

PhD position Identifying cultural units in orangutans

Hiring Organization:
Anthropological Institute & Museum, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The goal of this project is to identify which factors limit the spread of behavioral innovations, since orangutans lack well-defined bisexual social units as found in the majority of primates. Orangutan females form clear clusters of female relatives, but also have contacts with others, especially males. The task is therefore to describe behavioral profiles of many individuals at a site, including multiple clusters, and relate dyadic similarities to patterns in genetic relatedness, current association frequency (social exposure) and home range overlap (environmental overlap).
Observations will focus on one Bornean and one Sumatran population that vary in associations and cluster size. The project requires a field phase, including living under basic conditions, for a total of ca. two years. The PhD candidate will be a member of an international team and is expected to take responsibility for research management and organizational tasks in the respective field sites.
For further information contact Prof. Carel van Schaik ( or Dr. Maria van Noordwijk.

Suitable candidates should hold a master level degree in biology (e.g. zoology, physical/evolutionary anthropology). In addition, they must have experience doing fieldwork in the tropics (at least 3 months), be well-organized and able to work independently, be fluent in English, and willing to learn Indonesian.

This PhD position is funded by the Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zurich (Switzerland).

Term of Appointment:
Appointment is subject to yearly renewal for a maximum of 4 years.

Application Deadline:
December 1, 2012

Candidates should send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, transcript of study records, contact information for two academic referees, list of publications if any, and a half-page summary of the Master’s thesis (all combined to a single PDF) to Maria van Noordwijk ( Start of the project is planned for March 2013.

Contact Information:
Maria van Noordwijk
Winterthurerstrasse 190
Zürich, none 8057


E-mail Address:

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