Darwin Keynote


Women In Science

The Women in Science speaker was developed to highlight the contributions that women scientists have made to research and scientific knowledge.

Tuesday 31 March 2009
Seminar begins at 4pm in S012
(cookies at 3:30)

"Sex, Bonding and Dominance in Bonobos: What We Can Learn from Studying Our Closest Living Relatives"
   
2nd Annual Women in Science Speaker
Dr. Amy Parish

University of Southern California

photo courtesy: petersonportraits.com


Dr. Parish is a Biological Anthropologist, Primatologist, and Darwinian Feminist. She teaches at the University of Southern California in the Gender Studies and Anthropology departments (since 1999). She received her undergraduate training at University of Michigan and graduate education at University of California-Davis and then taught at University College London. She conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Giessen in Germany on the topic of reciprocity. She has been studying the world's captive population of bonobos for the last fifteen years. Dr. Parish has made ground-breaking discoveries about this little known close relative of humans: females form real and meaningful bonds in the absence of kinship, females attack and dominate males, and all possible age and gender combinations participate in sexual interactions. Her work has been featured in many science and news programs including a profile in Ms. Magazine and has appeared on Nova, National Geographic Explorer, NPR, and Discovery Health Channel productions. She is on the Board of Directors for the Arusha Project, a non-profit organization devoted to helping HIV infected women in Tanzania. Other activities include a position on the Board of Directors with the organization Up the River Endeavors, which is devoted to addressing sustainable development, global peace and social justice.

I have been studying the world's captive population of bonobos for the last fifteen years. I have made ground-breaking discoveries about this little known close relative of humans: females form real and meaningful bonds in the absence of kinship, females attack and dominate males, and all possible age and gender combinations participate in sexual interactions. Topics addressed in my research include: food sharing, food monopolization and female dominance in bonobos compared with chimpanzees; maturation, sexual dimorphism, and female dominance in bonobos; factors influencing timing of first reproduction in female bonobos including consideration of incest avoidance and transfer costs; patterns of association and affiliation; hormonal profiles of adult female bonobos and their interface with sexual behavior; patterns of aggression; fine-tuned analysis of sexual behaviors (e.g. durations, positions, partner-choice); and inter-specific comparisons on all these parameters between bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans.

For more information visit Dr. Parish's Laboratory at http://college.usc.edu/faculty/faculty1008182.html


Past Speakers

2008, Dr. Sari van Anders