Larissa Swedell

Photo credit: Julian Saunders

Professor Department of Anthropology Queens College and The Graduate Center City University of New York


Ph.D. 2000, Columbia University




Tel: (718) 997-2897

Fax: (718) 997-2885

Overview of Research


My primary interests center on the interacting social and reproductive strategies of males and females in complex social systems.  Most of my research to date has focused on the social behavior and ecology of baboons, including hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia (where NYCEP student Amy Schreier’s PhD work was based) and more recently chacma baboons of the Western Cape Peninsula of South Africa (where NYCEP student Shahrina Chowdhury just completed her PhD fieldwork).  I am currently focusing most of my conservation efforts on Imfene Education and Conservation, an African public outreach and conservation education website that I co-founded and operate with Julian Saunders.

I am currently seeking Ph.D. students to take on the following projects at Filoha: (1) a detailed study of female sociality and bonding patterns in hamadryas baboons, and (2) a study of the nutritional ecology of hamadryas baboons (see Filoha field site page for more details).


(For downloadable pdfs, go to:

Pines, M., Chowdhury, S., Saunders, J., & Swedell, L. (2015) The rise and fall of leader males in a multi-level society: takeovers and tenures of male hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Primatology 77: 44-55 (DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22309).

Städele, V., Van Doren, V., Pines, M., Swedell, L., & Vigilant, L. (2015) Fine-scale genetic assessment of sex-specific dispersal patterns in a multilevel society. Journal of Human Evolution 78: 103-113 (

Swedell, L., Leedom, L., Saunders, J., & Pines, M. (2014) Sexual conflict in a polygynous primate: Costs and benefits of a male-imposed mating system. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 263-273 (

Johnson, C.A., Raubenheimer, D., Rothman, J.M., Clarke, D., & Swedell, L. (2013) 30 days in the life: Daily nutrient balancing in a wild chacma baboon. PLOS ONE 8(7): e70383 (DOI: 10/1371/journal.pone.0070383).

Swedell, L. & Plummer, T. (2012) A Papionin Multilevel Society as a Model for Hominin Social Evolution. International Journal of Primatology DOI: 10.1007/s10764-012-9600-9.

Schreier, A. & Swedell, L. (2012) The Socioecology of Network Scaling Ratios in the Multilevel Society of Hamadryas Baboons. International Journal of Primatology DOI 10.1007/s10764-011-9572-1.

Matsuda, I., Zhang, P., Swedell, L., Mori, U., Tuuga, A., Bernard, H., & Sueur, C. (2012) Comparisons of Intraunit Relationships in Nonhuman Primates Living in Multilevel Social Systems.  International Journal of Primatology DOI 10.1007/s10764-012-9616-1.

Johnson, C., Swedell, L., & Rothman, J. (2012) Feeding Ecology of Olive Baboons (Papio anubis) in the Kibale Forest, Uganda: Preliminary Results on Diet and Food SelectionAfrican Journal of Ecology DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2011.01316.x.

Schreier, A., & Swedell, L. (2012) Ecology and Sociality in a Multilevel Society: Ecological Determinants of Social Cohesion in Hamadryas Baboons.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148: 580-588.

Swedell, L., Saunders, J., Schreier, A., Davis, B., Tesfaye, T., & Pines, M. (2011) Female “Dispersal” in Hamadryas Baboons: Transfer among Social Units in a Multilevel Society. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 145: 360-370.

Pines, M., Saunders, J., & Swedell, L. (2011) Alternative Routes to the Leader Male Role: Follower versus Solitary Male Strategies and Outcomes in Hamadryas Baboons.  American Journal of Primatology 73: 679-691.

Pines, M. & Swedell, L.  (2011) Not without a Fair Fight: Failed Abductions of Females in Wild Hamadryas Baboons.  Primates DOI: 10.1007/s10329-011-0242-x.

Swedell, L. (2011) African Papionins: Diversity of Social Organization and Ecological Flexibility.  IN Primates in Perspective, Second Edition, edited by C. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K. MacKinnon, S. Bearder, & R. Stumpf.  New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 241-277.  (released April 2010)

van Doorn, A., O’Riain, M.J., & Swedell, L. (2010) The effects of extreme seasonality of climate and day length on the activity budget and diet of semi-commensal chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. American Journal of Primatology 72(2): 104-112.

Schreier, A. & Swedell, L. (2009) The Fourth Level of Social Structure in a Multi-Level Society: Ecological and Social Functions of Clans in Hamadryas Baboons. American Journal of Primatology 71: 948-955.

Swedell, L. & Schreier, A. (2009) Male Aggression Towards Females in Hamadryas Baboons: Conditioning, Coercion, and Control. IN Sexual Coercion in Primates: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females, edited by M. Muller and R. Wrangham.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 244-268.

Swedell, L., Hailemeskel, G., & Schreier, A. (2008) Composition and Seasonality of Diet in Wild Hamadryas Baboons: Preliminary Findings from Filoha. Folia Primatologica 79: 476-490.

Schreier, A. & Swedell, L. (2008) Use of Palm Trees as a Sleeping Site by Hamadryas Baboons in Ethiopia.  American Journal of Primatology 70: 107-113.

Swedell, L. & Leigh, S., editors. (2006)  Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives.  Springer, New York.

Swedell, L. & Leigh, S. (2006) Perspectives on Reproduction and Life History in Baboons. IN Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives, edited by L. Swedell & S. Leigh. New York: Springer, pp. 1-15.

Swedell, L. & Saunders, J. (2006) Infant Mortality, Paternity Certainty, and Female Reproductive Strategies in Hamadryas Baboons. IN Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives, edited by L. Swedell & S. Leigh.  New York: Springer, pp. 19-51.

Swedell, L. (2006) Strategies of Sex and Survival in Hamadryas Baboons: Through a Female Lens, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Swedell, L. & Tesfaye, T. (2003) Infant Mortality After Takeovers in Wild Ethiopian Hamadryas Baboons. American Journal of Primatology 60: 113-118.

Swedell, L. (2002a) Affiliation Among Females in Wild Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas). International Journal of Primatology 23: 1205-1226.

Swedell, L. (2002b) Ranging Behavior, Group Size, and Behavioral Flexibility in Ethiopian Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas).  Folia Primatologica 73:95-103.

Swedell, L. (2000) Two Takeovers in Wild Hamadryas Baboons. Folia Primatologica 71: 169-172.

Swedell, L. (1997) Patterns of Reconciliation Among Captive Gelada Baboons (Theropithecus gelada).  Primates 38(3): 327-332.