Franziska Wegdell

How do animals communicate? Why did vast repertoires of different vocalizations evolve in animals? What can primate communication teach us about language evolution? These questions occupy me most. That is why I am pursuing a PhD in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich.

The aim of my PhD is to understand the influence of the surrounding vocal environment on the ontogeny of bonobo (Pan paniscus) communication, focusing on call acquisition and comprehension. I am collecting observational and experimental data on wild bonobos at the Kokolopori field site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Further, my research is part of a comparative study involving human infants and chimpanzees. I am supervised by Simon Townsend, Carel van Schaik, Sabine Stoll, Klaus Zuberbühler and Martin Surbeck and am part of the NCCR Evolving Language.


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