Melissa Emery Thompson

Assistant Vice President for Research; Director, Comparative Human and Primate Physiology Center; Co-Director, Kibale Chimpanzee Project

Recent Courses:

  • Primate Social Behavior (ANTH 363)
  • Human Life Course (ANTH 1170)
  • Evolution of Primate Behavior (ANTH 645)


BS (summa cum laude), Emory University (1997)

MA, Harvard University (2000)

PhD, Harvard University (2005)
Dissertation: “Endocrinology and Ecology of Wild Female Chimpanzee Reproduction”


Evolution of human life history, aging, primate behavioral ecology, endocrinology

Recent Publications:

In press  Emery Thompson, M and K Sabbi. Evolutionary Demography of the Great Apes. Human Evolutionary Demography. Edited by R Sear, O Burger, and R Lee. Open Book Publishers; Cambridge, UK. Preprint published online:

2021    Thompson González, N, ZP Machanda, E Otali, MN Muller, DK Enigk, RW Wrangham, M Emery Thompson. Age-related change in adult chimpanzee social network integration. Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health 9: 448-459.

2021    Sabbi, K, M Emery Thompson, ZP Machanda, E Otali, RW Wrangham, and MN Muller. Sex differences in early experience and the development of aggression in wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 118: e2017144118.

2020    Emery Thompson, M, MN Muller, ZP Machanda, E Otali, RW Wrangham. The Kibale Chimpanzee Project: Over thirty years of research, conservation, and change. Biological Conservation 252: 108857.

2020    Rosati, AG, L Hagberg, D Enigk, E Otali, M Emery Thompson, MN Muller, RW Wrangham, Z Machanda. Social selectivity in aging wild chimpanzees. Science 370: 473-476.

2020    Emery Thompson, M, A Rosati, N Snyder-Mackler. Insights from evolutionarily relevant models for human ageing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 375: 20190605.

2020    Emery Thompson, M, S Fox, A Berghänel, K Sabbi, S Phillips-Garcia, DK Enigk, E Otali, ZP Machanda, RW Wrangham, and MN Muller. Wild chimpanzees exhibit humanlike aging of glucocorticoid regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117: 8424-8430.

2019    Emery Thompson, M. How can nonhuman primates inform evolutionary perspectives on female-biased kinship in humans? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B 374: 20180074.