Associate/Assistant Professor (Maître de conférences) at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) in Paris, France. My current research aims at undestanding the flexibility of foraging strategies and of the cognitive behaviour of great apes focusing on four main research lines : 1) animal nutritional and energetic needs, 2) feeding ecology and nutritional strategies in realtion to spatio-temporal availability of food, 3) health status and medicinal plant choice, 4) feeding traditions, social learning, feeding knowladge transmission and culture. My field work profits from the tight collaboration with the Aka pygmies, hunter-gathers, forest experts and gorilla trackers, for whom I had to learn the Central African language to be able to communicate and work together. A recent research line of mine includes studies on the Aka pygmies given their intriguing hunter-gather life style and their traditional use of forest plants for medicine and other usages. My research has been focussing mainly on the western gorillas, elusive and critically endangered species. However, I stongly believe that the comparative approch among species, including humans, and especially among disciplins, is the only way to fully address our research questions.
Therefore, today thanks to a large network of strong national and international collaborations, my reseach framework compares different primate species (inlcuding humans) integrating field, captive and experimental research with a multidisciplinary approch (e.g. socioecology, feeding ecology, cognition, spatial geography, health, conservation, physiology, botany, anthropôlogy, ethnology, genetic, neurocognition). Focusing on primates and particularly on our closest relatives, the great apes, the ultimate goal of my research is to shed light a) on resilience of endangered species to aid their conservation, and b) to the evolutionary roots of different aspects of human evolution (e.g. origin of food/plant selection, origin of culture, origin of skilled cognition, origin of future planning, origin of traditional medicin, origin of language and hand preference, origin of diseases).