Dr. Christopher Shaffer
My primary research interests focus on primate behavior and ecology, especially how primates, including humans, obtain food and move through their environment. However, my research interests are broad within the field of Biological Anthropology, and include human variation (both biological and cultural), conservation ecology, ecological anthropology, and variation in material hunting technology. Using an approach called ethnoprimatology, I study the interactions between humans and non-human primates, whether those interactions involve hunting, utilization of the same resources, spiritual importance of non-human primates, or responses of non-human primates to human disturbances. To address these questions, I make extensive use of GIS and other spatial analysis tools I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 studying the foraging strategy of the Guianan Bearded Saki. I'm currently conducting research projects in the rainforests of Guyana, South America. In one of these projects, I continue to study the behavioral ecology of the bearded sakis and other new world monkeys, including foraging, social behavior, and spatial memory. In my other project, I am working with indigenous Waiwai horticulturalist-foragers on a long-term and multifaceted study of human-nonhuman primate interactions and shared ecologies. The primary goal of this project is to develop a community based method for assessing sustainability of subsistence hunting using GIS. In addition, I am investigating the influence of past human forager/farmer activity on the evolution and distribution of primates in this area.
Courses Taught: ANT 206 Human Origins, ANT 340 Culture and Environment, ANT 313 Primate Behavior and Ecology
Shaffer, C.A. (2014). Spatial foraging in free-ranging bearded sakis: Lévy Walkers or traveling salesmen? American Journal of Primatology. 76(5):472-84
Shaffer, C.A. (2013). GIS analysis of patch use and group cohesiveness of bearded sakis ( Chiropotes sagulatus) in the Upper Essequibo Conservation Concession, Guyana. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150: 235-246.
Shaffer, C.A. (2013). Feeding ecology of bearded sakis ( Chiropotes sagulatus) in Guyana. American Journal of Primatology 75: 568-580.