Department of Anthropology • New York University
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology

2013 - present PhD candidate, Biological Anthropology
New York University
Advisor: Dr. James Higham

2016 MA, Biological Anthropology
New York University
Advisor: Dr. James Higham
Thesis: "Is the red facial coloration of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subject to intra-sexual selection?"

2012 MRes, Primate Biology, Behaviour, and Conservation, distinction
University of Roehampton, London
Advisor: Dr. Caroline Ross
Thesis: "Sexual swelling symmetry, individual quality, and attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis)"

2009 BA, Biological Anthropology
University of California, San Diego

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Petersdorf M*, Weyher AH*, Kamilar JM, Dubuc C, Higham JP. Sexual selection in the Kinda baboon (In Review).

Petersdorf M, Dubuc C, Georgiev AG, Winters S, Higham JP. (2017). Is male rhesus macaque facial coloration under intrasexual selection? Behavioral Ecology 28: 1472-1481. (download)

Dubuc C, Allen WL, Cascio J, Lee DS, Maestripieri D, Petersdorf M, Winters S, Higham JP. (2016). Who cares? Experimental attention biases provide new insights into a mammalian sexual signal. Behavioral Ecology 27: 68-74. (download)

Sommer V, Lowe A, Jesus G, Alberts N, Bouquet Y, Petersdorf M, MacGregor Inglis D, Ross C. (2016). Antelope predation by Nigerian forest baboons: ecological and behavioural correlates. Folia Primatoligica 87: 67-90. (download)

Book chapters and encyclopedia entries

Winters S, Petersdorf M, Higham JP. (2018). Charles Darwin and selection in relation to sex in colors of monkeys. In: Evolutionary Studies: Darwin’s Roadmap to the Curriculum. Oxford University Press. (In Press)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2018). Mating systems, Primates. In: The International Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology. (ed. W Trevathan). John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (In press)

Higham JP & Petersdorf M. (2017). Sexual swellings. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. doi:10.1002/9781119179313.wbprim0309 (download)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2017). Mating systems. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. doi:10.1002/9781119179313.wbprim0212 (download)

Book and conference reviews

DeCasien AR, Evans KD, Fuong H, Lee DS, Petersdorf M, Petersen RM, Shackelford CM. (2016). Crickette M. Sanz, Josep Call, and Christophe Boesch (Eds): Tool Use in Animals: Cognition and Ecology. International Journal of Primatology 37: 608-611. (download)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2015). Katja Liebal, Bridget M. Waller, Anne M. Burrows, Katie E. Slocombe: Primate Communication: A Multimodal Approach. International Journal of Primatology 36: 1055-1059. (download)

Winters S, Dunayer ES, Petersdorf M, Simons ND, Tinsman J. (2014) Primatology and Conservation in Hanoi, Vietnam. Evolutionary Anthropology 23: 201-204. (download)

Published abstracts

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Williams SA. (2015). What can the skeleton tell us about flanging? Hard-tissue markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus [abstract]. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(S60): 251-252. (download)

2013 - 2019    New York University, MacCracken Fellowship
2018    DAAD German Academic Exchange Fellowship    
2017 - 2018    U.S. Fulbright Student Program, Zambia
2011 - 2012    University of Roehampton, Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship
2008    San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Student Fellowship

2017    National Science Foundation: Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant ($25,186)
2017    The Leakey Foundation, General Research Grant ($14,880)
2017    American Society of Mammalogists, Grant-In-Aid of Research ($1,450)
2017    The Explorer’s Club, Exploration Fund Grant ($1,000)
2017    Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology, Grant-in-Aid of Research ($967)
2016    Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, Grant-in-Aid of Research ($970)
2015    American Association of University Women, DAW-CA Scholarship ($2,200)
2015    National Science Foundation IGERT, NYCEP Pilot Research Funds ($3,000)

2018    International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Conference Travel Award ($500)
2016    International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Conference Travel Award ($1,450)
2016    New York University, GSAS Dean’s Student Travel Grant ($500)
2015    New York University, GSAS Dean’s Student Travel Grant ($500)

2017    Dean’s Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in Social Sciences, New York University
2015    Primate Interest Group Award, Student Presentation Competition, 84th annual meeting of American Association of Physical Anthropologists
2013    Student Presentation Award, 11th annual meeting of the Primate Ecology & Genetics Group, South Africa
2012    Dept. of Life Sciences Award for Postgraduate Achievement, University of Roehampton

2016 - present The reproductive ecology of the little-known Kinda baboon (PhD dissertation). Advisor: J Higham; Committee: C Jolly, T Disotell
2016 The guenon microbiome. Supervisors: MG Dominguez-Bello, J Higham
2015 - 2017 Exploring mechanisms of sexual selection acting on a primate color signal. Supervisors: J Higham, C Dubuc
2015 Pilot field research on Kinda baboons in Kasanka National Park, Zambia
2014 Osteological markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus. Supervisors: S Williams, J Higham
2014 Lab training internship, Molecular Primatology Lab. PI: T Disotell
2014 Exploratory field work on Kinda baboons in Kafue & Kasanka National Parks, Zambia
2014 Male and female facial color ornamentation in rhesus macaques. Research assistant, PI: C Dubuc
2013 Longitudinal social effects of PZP vaccine contraception on wild African elephants in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
2012 Sexual swelling symmetry, individual quality, and attractiveness in wild female olive baboons. Advisor: C Ross
2010 Spatial and nutritional ecology of chacma baboons in Western Cape, South Africa. Field assistant, PI: P Pebsworth
2009 - 2010 Early behavioral markers of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children 12-36 months, UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence
2008 - 2009 Gestural communication and social coordination in captive bonobos. Research assistant, PI: C Johnson
2008 Socio-endocrinology of captive female cheetahs: effects of group housing on reproductive suppression. Supervisors: F Bercovitch, M Anderson

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Phillips-Conroy JE, Rogers J, Jolly CJ. (2016). Sexual dimorphism and testis volume across Papio: where do Kinda baboons fit in? 2nd annual meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists, New York City NY. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Georgiev AV, Winters S, Maestripieri D, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2016). Is the red facial coloration of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subject to intra-sexual selection? International Primatological Society XVII, Chicago IL. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2016). Intra-sexual selection and male rhesus macaque facial coloration. 16th Congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Exeter UK. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Williams SA. (2015). What can the skeleton tell us about flanging? Hard-tissue markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus. 84th annual meeting of The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, St. Louis MO. [poster*student award

Petersdorf M & Ross C. (2014). Sexual swelling symmetry and social attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis). Inaugural Meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists, New Brunswick NJ. [poster]

Petersdorf M & Ross C. (2013). Sexual swelling symmetry and social attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis) at Gashaka-Gumti National Park. 11th Annual Meeting Primate Ecology & Genetics Group, Tsitsikamma, South Africa. [podium presentation] *student award

Ross C, Petersdorf M, Bailey E. (2013). Parasites, symmetry, and sociality: what baboons can reveal. The Fifth Gashaka Field Day, London UK. 

Fall 2016 Adjunct Instructor, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2015 Adjunct Instructor, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2015 Guest lecturer, Primate Behavior, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2015 Guest lecturer, Classification of Multimodal Signals, “Primate Communication,” New York University
Spring 2015 Adjunct Instructor, “Human Origins,” New York University
Spring 2015, Fall 2015 Guest lecturer, Primate Sexual Selection & Mating Systems, “Introduction to Human Evolution,” Hunter College CUNY

2017 - present Field advising and training: Zambian research scout (Simon Siame) and field assistants (Alison Govaerts, Jessica Gunson)
2016 - present Supervisor, undergraduate student interns: Constanza Galindo (2016), Flavia Stanton (2016), Judy Dang (2017)
2014 - 2016 Supervisor, high school science research program: Grace P., Kelly H. “The effect of zoo visitors on the behavior and stereotypies of gorillas in captivity”

2017 - present Community conservation/education projects; Kasanka Baboon Project, Zambia
2014 - present Social media: Blogs (owner:; contributor:; Twitter (@meganpetersdorf)
2016 Career Day speaker, Bedford-Stuyvesant Charter School
2016 @Biotweeps Twitter science communication
2015 - 2016 Panelist, New York University Undergraduate Women in Science events
2014 - 2016 Guest speaker, GOALS for Girls, Intrepid Museum
2015 Judge, New York High School Science & Engineering Fair
2015 Judge, CUNY Hunter College Undergraduate Anthropology Conference
2013 Community conservation and education projects; Project Rhino, South Africa
2013 Guest speaker, South African Ecology field school (UConn/Nature Guide Training)
2011 - 2012 Teacher for after-school science clubs; Mother Nature Education, London UK
2010 - 2011 Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots in Northern California

2014 - 2017 Executive Committee, Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists
2014 - present Twitter (@CSHO_NYU@NEevolprimatol); Webmaster (
2013 - present Founder, NYCEP student club

American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Animal Behavior Society
American Society of Mammalogists
American Society of Primatologists
Graduate Women in Science
International Society for Behavioral Ecology
International Primatological Society
Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists
Primate Ecology and Genetics Group South Africa
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology