Christine M. Drea
Earl D. McLean Professor
I have two broad research interests, sexual differentiation and social behavior, both focused on hyenas and primates. I am particularly interested in unusual species in which the females display a suite of masculinized characteristics, including male- like or exaggerated external genitalia and social dominance. The study of naturally occurring hormones in such unique mammals can reveal general processes of hormonal activity, expressed in genital morphology, reproductive development, and social behavior. Taking a combined laboratory and field approach allows me to relate captive data to various facets of the animals' natural habitat, thereby enhancing the ecological validity of assay procedures and enriching interpretation in an evolutionary framework. The goal of comparative studies of hyenas and lemurs is to help elucidate the mechanisms of mammalian sexual differentiation.
My research program in social behavior focuses on social learning and group cohesion. Using naturalistic tasks that I present to captive animals in socially relevant contexts, I can investigate how social interaction modulates behavior, problem- solving, and cognitive performance. By studying and comparing models of carnivore and primate foraging, I can better understand how group-living animals modify their actions to meet environmental demands. A primary interest is determining whether similar factors, related to having a complex social organization, influence learning and performance across taxonomic groups. I am also interested in how animals learn rules of social conduct and maintain social cohesion, as evidenced by their patterns of behavioral developmental, the intricate balance between aggression and play, the expression of scent marking, and the social facilitation or inhibition of behavior.
Crawford, Jeremy Chase, and Christine M. Drea. “Baby on board: olfactory cues indicate pregnancy and fetal sex in a non-human primate..” Biology Letters, vol. 11, no. 2, Feb. 2015. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0831. Full Text Open Access Copy
Petty, Joseph M. A., and Christine M. Drea. “Female rule in lemurs is ancestral and hormonally mediated..” Scientific Reports, vol. 5, Jan. 2015. Epmc, doi:10.1038/srep09631. Full Text
delBarco-Trillo, J., and C. M. Drea. “Socioecological and phylogenetic patterns in the chemical signals of strepsirrhine primates.” Animal Behaviour, vol. 97, Nov. 2014, pp. 249–53. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.07.009. Full Text
Kulahci, Ipek G., et al. “Individual recognition through olfactory-auditory matching in lemurs..” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 281, no. 1784, June 2014. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0071. Full Text
Greene, L. K., and C. M. Drea. “Love is in the air: Sociality and pair bondedness influence sifaka reproductive signalling.” Animal Behaviour, vol. 88, Jan. 2014, pp. 147–56. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.11.019. Full Text Open Access Copy
Leclaire, S., et al. “Bacterial communities in meerkat anal scent secretions vary with host sex, age, and group membership.” Behavioral Ecology, vol. 25, no. 4, Jan. 2014, pp. 996–1004. Scopus, doi:10.1093/beheco/aru074. Full Text
Cunha, Gerald R., et al. “Development of the external genitalia: perspectives from the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)..” Differentiation; Research in Biological Diversity, vol. 87, no. 1–2, Jan. 2014, pp. 4–22. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.diff.2013.12.003. Full Text
Delbarco-Trillo, Javier, et al. “Chemical differences between voided and bladder urine in the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis): implications for olfactory communication studies..” American Journal of Primatology, vol. 75, no. 7, July 2013, pp. 695–702. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajp.22083. Full Text
Drea, Christine M., et al. “The "secret" in secretions: methodological considerations in deciphering primate olfactory communication..” American Journal of Primatology, vol. 75, no. 7, July 2013, pp. 621–42. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajp.22143. Full Text
Charpentier, Marie J. E., et al. “Nasopalatine ducts and flehmen behavior in the mandrill: reevaluating olfactory communication in Old World primates..” American Journal of Primatology, vol. 75, no. 7, July 2013, pp. 703–14. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajp.22146. Full Text
Place, N. J., et al. “Paradoxical effects of maximal androgen blockade on sex hormone concentrations in pregnant spotted hyenas, Crocuta crocuta..” Biology of Reproduction, SOC STUDY REPRODUCTION, 2005, pp. 123–123.
Drea, C. M. “Bateman revisited: Sexually assertive female primates and their cryptic reproductive tactics.” Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol. 43, no. 6, SOC INTEGRATIVE COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, 2003, pp. 915–915.
Drea, C. M., and L. G. Frank. “The social complexity of spotted hyenas.” Animal Social Complexity, edited by F. B. M. DeWaal and P. L. Tyack, HARVARD UNIV PRESS, 2003, pp. 121-+.
Drea, Christine M., and Elizabeth S. Scordato. Olfactory Communication in the Ringtailed Lemur (Lemur catta): Form and Function of Multimodal Signals. Springer New York, pp. 91–102. Crossref, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-73945-8_8. Full Text