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  • February 21, 2007

    Primatologist next Dean's Lecture Series in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Jill Pruetz, assistant professor of anthropology at Iowa State University, gets "up close and personal" with her subjects in the wilds of Senegal.

    Pruetz will discuss her work as a primatologist as the spring 2007 speaker for the College of Liberal Arts and Science's Dean's Lecture Series. Pruetz will speak on her work with chimpanzees in Senegal Wednesday, March 7, at 8 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union in a presentation entitled "Life in the Savanna."

    As a primatologist, Pruetz has studied the behavior of non-human primates such as chimpanzees, spider monkeys, howling monkeys, tamarins, patas monkeys and vervets in various locales. She currently has a research project in southeastern Senegal, which has been funded by the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation.

    "We are conducting research on chimps in a habitat similar to that of early hominids," she says. "They (the chimps) have become habituated so that we can observe them up close and personal, allowing us to see that they exhibit a lot of interesting behaviors you don't get with chimps elsewhere. This includes hunting with tools, moving around on moonlit nights, soaking in pools of water, and using caves, which is their adjustment to such a hot, dry environment."

    Pruetz's LAS Dean's Lecture Series talk will also focus on the intricacies of her fieldwork - from why she chose this particular site to what a "day in the life" is like working on the project.

    A reception will follow the lecture and a poster display will be held prior to the event.

    This lecture series is coordinated by Iowa State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is funded by the University Committee on Lectures (funded by GSB).

Jill Pruetz

Jill Pruetz