Clifford Jolly

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology New York University


B.A. 1960, University College London Ph.D. 1964, University College London



Overview of Research

Our field studies of wild primates, especially cercopithecoid monkeys, at various sites in tropical Africa have a broad focus on the processes by which species originate, become distinct, interact, and sometimes merge by hybridization. Some students have developed independent field projects, notably on mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) in Gabon and hybridizing guenons (Cercopithecus ascanius and C. mitis) in Tanzania. Others have pursued projects based within our two major, ongoing, research efforts. The older of these is on the baboons (Papio hamadryas and P. anubis) and grivet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops aethiops) of the Awash National Park, Ethiopia. The project was begun in 1973 in collaboration with Hans Kummer (University of Zurich) and F.L. Brett (University College London), and since 1982 has been run in collaboration with J. Phillips-Conroy (Washington University, St. Louis). Many graduate students from NYU and other institutions have participated in fieldwork, and most of these have gone on to complete Ph.D. dissertations on the material gathered. Most of these have used a combination of observational data-gathering and increasingly sophisticated genetic and hormonal analyses. Our study was the first to investigate in depth a naturally-occurring primate hybrid zone and the first to apply "hands-on" methods of live-trapping, sampling, and release, to primate populations that were concurrently the subject of behavioral observation. Our quest for understanding of the biological bases of behavioral variation has led us into new areas – for instance assaying neurotransmitters in the cerebrospinal fluid, and relating their levels to variation in behavior. As a result, we have a unique genetic, developmental and biomedical database that extends over nearly thirty years, and much work remains to be done on it in the labs. Since 2000, our work on the Awash hybrid zone has centered on materials in hand, although a related project on hamadryas baboons initiated by a NYCEP colleague, Dr Larissa Swedell (CUNY), continues to collect information in the Awash region.

In 2000, we initiated a new major project in Zambia, to investigate the distribution of three distinct baboon species (Papio cynocephalus, P. ursinus, and P. kindae) with adjoining ranges. We have been able to document the existence of all three of the predicted hybrid zones on the ground, and to make preliminary observations on the social behavior of the small-sized P. kindae, which turns out to have some unique and unexpected features. We have also collected material from which (in collaboration with Dr A. Burrell, a graduate of CSHO and NYCEP) we are piecing together the details of the complex genetic structure of these unique populations. A new phase of the Zambian project, slated to begin in 2010 with NSF support, involves a live-trapping program to document the basic biology, population structure, genetics and endocrine profiles of P. kindae, which are all virtually unknown.

We anticipate that there will be future opportunities for fieldwork by graduate students, both as members of field research teams, and individually in research projects.


  • Burrell AS ; Jolly CJ ; Tosi AJ ; Disotell TR. Mitochondrial evidence for the hybrid origin of the kipunji, Rungwecebus kipunji (Primates: Papionini). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 2009. 51(2). Pgs: 340-348
  • Jolly CJ. Fifty years of looking at human evolution: backward, forward, and sideways. Current Anthropology. 2009. 50(2). Pgs: 187-199
  • Bergman TJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE ; Jolly CJ. Behavioral variation and reproductive success of male baboons (Papio anubis x Papio hamadryas) in a hybrid social group. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2008. 70(2). Pgs: 136-147
  • Jolly CJ. Baboons, mandrills, and mangabeys: Afro-papionin socioecology in a phylogenetic perspective. Primates in Perspective. Campbell CJ, Fuentes A, MacKinnon KC, Bearder SK, Editors. New York: Oxford Univ Press. 2007. Pgs: 240-251
  • Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE. Ecology, history and society as determinants of hybrid zone structure in baboons. [Abstract] American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2007. (Suppl 44). Pgs: 138
  • Jolly CJ. Mitochondrial capture in the evolution of baboon and human allotaxa. [Abstract] American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2006. (Suppl 42). Pgs: 110
  • Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE. Testicular size, developmental trajectories, and male life history strategies in four baboon taxa. Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives. Swedell L, Leigh SR, Editors. New York: Springer. 2006. Pgs: 257-275
  • Uddin M ; Philips-Conroy JE ; Jolly CJ. Social organization, reproductive systems, and mediation of baboon endogenous virus (BaEV) copy number in gelada, hamadryas, and other Papio baboons. Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives. Swedell L, Leigh SR, Editors. New York: Springer. 2006. Pgs: 123-143
  • Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE "White babies" and the zone of contact and probable intergradation among three distinct baboon allotaxa in the Luangwa valley, Zambia. [Abstract] American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2005. (Suppl 40). Pgs: 123
  • Detwiler KM, Burrell AS, Jolly CJ. Conservation implications of hybridization in African ceropithecine monkeys. International Journal of Primatology 2005. 26(3). Pgs: 661-684 Download PDF
  • Anapol F ; Turner TR ; Mott CS ; Jolly CJ. Comparative postcranial body shape and locomotion in Chlorocebus aethiops and Cercopithecus mitis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2005. 127(2). Pgs: 231-239 Download PDF
  • Newman TK ; Jolly CJ ; Rogers J. Mitochondrial phylogeny and systematics of baboons (Papio). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2004. 124(1). Pgs: 17-27 Download PDF
  • Nystrom P ; Phillips-Conroy JE ; Jolly CJ. Dental microwear in anubis and hybrid baboons (Papio hamadryas, sensu lato) living in Awash National Park, Ethiopia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2004. 125(3). Pgs: 279-291 Download PDF
  • Wildman DE ; Bergman TJ ; al-Aghbari A ; Sterner KN ; Newman TK ; Phillips-Conroy JE; Jolly CJ ; Disotell TR. Mitochondrial evidence for the origin of hamadryas baboons. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2004. 32(1). Pgs: 287-296 Download PDF
  • Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE. Testicular size, mating system, and maturation schedules in wild anubis and hamadryas baboons. International Journal of Primatology 2003. 24(1). Pgs: 125-142 Download PDF
  • Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE ; Mueller AE. Trapping primates. Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide. Setchell JM Curtis DJ, Editors. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Press. 2003. Pgs: 110-121
  • Jolly C. Cranial anatomy and baboon diversity. Anatomical Record. 2003. 275A(2). Pgs: 1043-1047
  • Dirks W ; Reid DJ ; Jolly CJ ; Phillips-Conroy JE ; Brett FL. Out of the mouths of baboons: Stress, life history, and dental development in the Awash National Park Hybrid Zone, Ethiopia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2002. 118(3). Pgs: 239-252 Download PDF
  • Banks WA ; Phillips-Conroy JE ; Jolly CJ ; Morley JE. Serum leptin levels in wild and captive populations of baboons (Papio): Implications for the ancestral role of leptin. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2001. 86(9). Pgs: 4315-4320 Download PDF
  • Jolly CJ. A proper study for mankind: Analogies from the Papionin monkeys and their implications for human evolution. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 2001. 44. Pgs: 177-204