James Higham

Photo credit: James Higham

Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology New York University


B.A. (Hons) 2001, University of Cambridge M.Sc. 2002, University of Oxford Ph.D. 2007, Roehampton University, London



Website: www.nyuprimatology.com

Tel: 212-992-7477

Overview of Research

My overall goal is to study genetic, morphological, physiological and behavioral aspects of primate reproductive strategies as shaped by sexual selection. Current and recent research includes the reproductive strategies of baboons at Gashaka, Nigeria, rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, and crested macaques at Tangkoko, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Much of my work involves combining behavioral observations and experiments with assessment of morphological variation (e.g. visual signals such as baboon sexual swellings and macaque facial and genital coloration) and underlying physiology measured non-invasively in feces and urine. Recent foci include the role of multi-modal signals in combining to indicate the same or different aspects of condition to others, the role of familiarity and social experience in determining signal assessment and interpretation, and the costs of intra-sexual competition. Please see our lab website for more details (www.nyuprimatology.com).


As Editor

Higham, J.P. & Roney, J. (Eds). 2016. Field endocrinology of nonhuman and human primates.Hormones and Behavior


Higham, J.P. & Hebets, E.A. (Eds). 2013. Multimodal communication. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67 (9)


Higham, J.P. & Semple, S. (Eds). 2013. Primate signals. American Journal of Primatology 75 (7)


Higham, J.P. (Ed). 2009. Primate coloration: measurement, mechanisms and function.International Journal of Primatology 30 (6)


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Rigaill, L., MacIntosh, A.J.J., Higham, J.P., Winters, S., Shimizu, K., Mouri, K., Takeshi, F. & Garcia, C. Multimodal advertisement of pregnancy in free-ranging female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). PLOS One In Press


Higham, J.P., Kraus, C., Stahl-Hennig, C., Engelhardt, A., Fuchs, D. & Heistermann, M. 2015. Evaluating non-invasive markers of non-human primate immune activation and inflammation.American Journal of Physical Anthropology DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22821


Dubuc, C., Allen, W.L., Cascio, J., Lee, D.S., Maestripieri, D., Petersdorf, M., Winters, S. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Who cares? Experimental attention biases provide new insights into a mammalian sexual signal. Behavioral Ecology DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv117


Winters, S., Dubuc, C. & Higham, J.P. 2015. The looking time experimental paradigm in studies of animal visual perception and cognition. Ethology 121: 625-640


Allen, W.L. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Assessing the potential information content of multicomponent visual signals: A machine learning approach. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142284


Hughes, K.D., Higham, J.P., Allen, W.L., Elliot, A.J. & Hayden, B.Y. 2015. Extraneous red drives female macaques’ gaze toward photographs of male conspecifics. Evolution and Human Behavior 36: 25-31


MacLarnon, A.M., Sommer, V., Goffe, A.S., Higham, J.P., Lodge, E., Tkaczynski, P. & Ross, C. 2015. Assessing adaptability and reactive scope: a new measure and a case study of environmental stress in forest-living baboons. General and Comparative Endocrinology 215: 10-24


Dubuc, C., Winters, S., Allen, W.L., Brent, L.J.N., Cascio, J., Maestripieri, D.M., Ruiz-Lambides, A., Widdig, A. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Sexually-selected skin color is heritable and related to fecundity in a non-human primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20141602


Mandalaywala, T.M., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Parker, K.J. & Maestripieri D. 2014. Physiological and behavioral stress responses to weaning conflict in free-ranging primate infants. Animal Behaviour 91: 241-247


Allen, W.L., Stevens, M & Higham, J.P. 2014. Character displacement of Cercopithecini primate visual signals. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5266


Higham, J.P. & Maestripieri, D. 2014. The costs of reproductive success in Cayo Santiago male rhesus macaques. International Journal of Primatology 35: 661-676


Dubuc, C., Allen, W.L., Maestripieri, D. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Is male rhesus macaque red colour ornamentation attractive to females? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 1215-1224


Higham, J.P. 2014. How does honest costly signaling work? Behavioral Ecology 25: 8-11


Higham, J.P. & Hebets, E.A. 2013. An introduction to multimodal communication. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1381-1388


Wilson A., Dean, M. & Higham, J.P. 2013. A game theoretic approach to multimodal communication. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1399-1415


Higham, J.P., Pfefferle, D., Heistermann, M., Maestripieri, D. & Stevens, M. 2013. Signaling in multiple modalities in male rhesus macaques: barks and sex skin coloration in relation to androgen levels, social status and mating behavior. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1457-1469


Semple, S. & Higham, J.P. 2013. Primate signals: Current issues and perspectives. American Journal of Primatology 75: 613-620


Rigaill, L., Higham, J.P., Lee, PC., Blin, A. & Garcia, C. 2013. Multimodal sexual signaling and mating behavior in olive baboons (Papio anubis). American Journal of Primatology 75: 774-787


Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2013. The endocrinology of male rhesus macaque social and reproductive status: a test of the challenge and social stress hypotheses. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 19-30


Allen, W.L. & Higham, J.P. 2013. Analyzing visual signals as visual scenes. American Journal of Primatology 75: 664-682


Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Saggau, C., Agil, M., Perwitasari-Farajallah, D. & Engelhardt, A. 2012. Sexual signaling in the crested macaque and the evolution of primate fertility signals. BMC Evolutionary Biology 12: 89


Mandalaywala, T.M., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Infant bystanders modulate the effects of ovarian hormones on socio-sexual behaviour in free-ranging female rhesus macaques. Behaviour 148: 1137-1155


Higham, J.P., Girard-Buttoz, C., Engelhardt, A. & Heistermann, M. 2011 Urinary C-peptide of insulin as a non-invasive marker of nutritional status: some practicalities. PLoS One 6: e22398


Higham, J.P., Hughes, K.D., Brent, L.J.N., Dubuc, C., Engelhardt, A., Heistermann, M., Maestripieri, D., Santos, L.R & Stevens, M. 2011. Familiarity affects assessment of facial signals of female fertility by free-ranging male rhesus macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 3452-3458


Hoffman, C.L., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Prendergast, B., Coe, C. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Immune function and HPA axis activity in free-ranging rhesus macaques. Physiology and Behavior 104: 507-514


Girard-Buttoz, C., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Wedegärtner, S., Maestripieri, D. & Engelhardt, A. 2011. Urinary c-peptide measurement as a marker of nutritional status in macaques. PLoS One 6: e18042


Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. The energetics of male-male endurance rivalry in rhesus macaques. Animal Behaviour 81: 1001-1007


Higham, J.P., Barr, C.S., Hoffman, C.L., Mandalaywala, T.M., Parker, K.J. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) variation, oxytocin levels and maternal behavior in free-ranging rhesus macaques. Behavioral Neuroscience 125: 131-136


De Vere, R., Warren, Y., Nicholas, A., MacKenzie, M.E. & Higham, J.P. 2011. Nest site ecology of the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) in the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, Cameroon, with special reference to anthropogenic influence. American Journal of Primatology 73: 253-261


Higham, J.P. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Revolutionary coalitions in male rhesus macaques. Behaviour 147: 1889-1908


Higham, J.P., Vitale, A.B., Mas-Rivera, A., Ayala, J.E. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Measuring salivary analytes from free-ranging monkeys. Physiology & Behavior 101: 601-607


Hoffman, C.L., Higham, J.P., Mas-Rivera, A., Ayala, J.E. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Terminal investment and senescence in rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago. Behavioral Ecology 21: 972-978


Higham, J.P., Brent, L.J.N., Dubuc, C., Accamando, A,K., Engelhardt, A., Gerald, M.S., Heistermann, M. & Stevens, M. 2010. Color signal information content and the eye of the beholder: a case study in the rhesus macaque. Behavioral Ecology 21: 739-746


Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A.M., Heistermann, M., Ross, C. & Semple, S. 2009. Self-directed behaviours and faecal glucocorticoid levels are not correlated in female wild olive baboons. Stress 12: 526-532


Higham, J.P. Primate Coloration – An introduction to the special issue. 2009. International Journal of Primatology 30: 749-751


Marty, J.M., Higham, J.P., Gadsby, E.L., & Ross, C. 2009 Color, dominance and social and sexual behavior in male drills. International Journal of Primatology 30: 807-823


Stevens, M., Stoddard, M.C., & Higham, J.P. 2009. Studying primate color: towards visual system dependent methods. International Journal of Primatology 30: 893-917


Higham, J.P., Semple, S. MacLarnon, A., Heistermann, M. & Ross, C. 2009. Female reproductive signals, and male mating behavior, in the olive baboon. Hormones and Behavior 55: 60-67


Higham, J.P., Warren, Y., Adanu, J. Bubu, U. MacLarnon, A., Sommer, V. & Ross, C. 2009. Living on the edge: Life-history of olive baboons at Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria. American Journal of Primatology 71: 293-304


Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A., Ross, C., Heistermann, M. & Semple, S. 2008 Baboon sexual swellings: Information content of size and color. Hormones and Behavior 53: 452-462


Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Ross, C., Semple, S. & MacLarnon, A. 2008. The timing of ovulation with respect to sexual swelling detumescence in wild olive baboons. Primates 49: 295-299


Higham, J.P., Ross, C., Warren, Y., Heistermann, M. & MacLarnon, A. 2007 Reduced reproductive function in wild baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) related to natural consumption of the African black plum (Vitex doniana). Hormones and Behavior 52: 384-390


Asakura, T., Umemura, K., Nakazawa, Y., Hirose, H., Higham, J.P. & Knight, D. 2007 Some observations on the structure and function of the spinning apparatus in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Biomacromolecules 8: 175-181


Higham, J.P. & Gosler, A.G. 2006 Speckled eggs: water loss and incubation behaviour in the Great tit Parus major. Oecologia 149: 561-570


Gosler, A.G., Higham, J.P. & Reynolds, S.J. 2005 Why are birds’ eggs speckled? Ecology Letters 8: 1105-1113


Book Chapters

Higham, J.P. Sperm competition.

In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press


Petersdorf, M. & Higham, J.P. Sexual swellings.

In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press


Petersdorf, M. & Higham, J.P. Mating systems.

In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press


Higham, J.P. & Dubuc, C. The evolution of female fertility signals in macaques.

In: eLS (Encyclopedia of Life Sciences). Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024968


Higham, J.P. & Winters, S. Color and mate choice in nonhuman animals.

In: The handbook of color psychology (Eds Elliot, A.J. & Fairchild, M.D.) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. In Press


Higham, J.P. Multimodal Communication.

In: The missing lemur link: an ancestral step in human evolution (Palagi, E. & Norscia I.) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. In Press


Higham, J.P. 2013. Primate visual signals.

In: McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology 2014. McGraw-Hill Professional: New York


Warren, Y., Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A. & Ross, C. 2011. Crop-raiding and commensalism: the costs and benefits of living with humans.

In: Primates of Gashaka Eds. Sommer, V & Ross, C. Developments in primatology: progress and prospects. Springer. Series Ed. Tuttle, R.H.


Ross, C., Warren, Y., MacLarnon, A. & Higham, J.P. 2011. How different are Gashaka’s baboons? A comparison of forest-living and open-country populations.

In: Primates of Gashaka Eds. Sommer, V & Ross, C. Developments in primatology: progress and prospects. Springer. Series Ed. Tuttle, R.H.


Other journal publications

Petersdorf, M. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Katja Liebal, Bridget M. Waller, Anne M. Burrows, Katie E. Slocombe: Primate Communication: A Multimodal Approach. International Journal of Primatology In Press


Winters, S. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Martin Stevens: Sensory Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution. International Journal of Primatology 36: 205-208


Dubuc, C. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Quite the complexion: rhesus monkey face redness is passed on to their offspring, and affects their reproductive fitness. Biosphere 2: 50-55


Higham, J.P., Amann, A.L., Bryer, M.A.H., Thompson, N.A. & Winters, S. 2013. Review of “The Evolution of Primate Societies” (Eds. John C. Mitani, Josep Call, Peter M. Kappeler, Ryne A. Palombit & Joan B. Silk). International Journal of Primatology 34: 1298-1303


Higham, J.P. 2011. Review of “The Japanese Macaques” (Eds., Naofumi, N., Nakamichi, N. & Sugiura, H.). International Journal of Primatology 32: 1033-1036


Semple, S., Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A., Ross, C. & Lehmann, J. 2010. Comment on ‘Pan Thanatology’. Current Biology www.cell.com/current-biology/comments/S0960-9822(10)00145-4


Wiseman, R., Warren, Y., Nicholas, A., MacKenzie, M., & Higham, J.P. 2008. A GIS habitat map for the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, Cameroon. Gorilla Journal 37: 12-14


Higham, J.P. & Bennett, D. 2008. Some observations on wildlife, and wildlife consumption, in Eastern Nigeria. Gorilla Journal 36: 11-13