Anne Pusey is a behavioral ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist recognized for her work on the evolution of social structure in animal societies. Her studies are based on long-term observations of individually recognized animals. She has worked on the Gombe chimpanzee study in Tanzania for 50 years, and the Serengeti lion study for 11 years. She is known particularly for her work on patterns of competition, cooperation and social development, and her study of behavioral mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance. Pusey was born and grew up in Oxford, England. She graduated from Oxford University with a BA in zoology, and then graduated from Stanford University with an interdisciplinary PhD in ethology in 1978. She held research associate positions at the University of Sussex, the Serengeti Research Institute and the University of Chicago and joined the faculty of the department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota in 1983. She moved to Duke University in 2010. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Anne Pusey is interested in exploring ecological and evolutionary explanations for the kinds of groups that animals live in and the social relationships that they form. Her early work established the prevalence among animals of sex-biased dispersal, its links to inbreeding avoidance, and its consequences for the relatedness among individuals of each sex within groups. Unlike lions and most other mammals, where females remain in their natal group surrounded by relatives and all males leave, in chimpanzees, as in some human societies, males remain for life in their natal group and cooperate to defend the group territory while most females transfer to other groups before breeding. With her collaborators Pusey has studied how the different patterns of kinship in the two species influence cooperative and competitive behavior within and between the sexes, including cooperative hunting and territorial defense, parental behavior, dominance hierarchies, sexual coercion by males, competition among females, and infanticide by males and females. As a member of the Gombe research consortium, she continues to participate in studies of chimpanzee behavior, ecology, genetics, disease and conservation.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology