Christine M. Drea

Christine M. Drea

Earl D. McLean Professor

External address: 
129 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90383, 08 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708-0383
(919) 660-7367


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.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., Emory University 1991

  • M.A., Emory University 1990

  • B.S., University of Maryland, College Park 1984

Glickman, SE, Coscia, EM, Frank, LG, Licht, P, Weldele, ML, and Drea, CM. "Androgens and masculinization of genitalia in the spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta). 3. Effects of juvenile gonadectomy." J Reprod Fertil 113.1 (May 1998): 129-135.

Drea, CM. "Social context affects how rhesus monkeys explore their environment." American Journal of Primatology 44.3 (1998): 205-214. (Academic Article) Full Text

Drea, CM, Hawk, JE, and Glickman, SE. "The emergence of affiliative behavior in infant spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta)." Ann N Y Acad Sci 807 (January 15, 1997): 498-500.

Glickman, SE, Zabel, CJ, Yoerg, SI, Weldele, ML, Drea, CM, and Frank, LG. "Social facilitation, affiliation, and dominance in the social life of spotted hyenas." Ann N Y Acad Sci 807 (January 15, 1997): 175-184.

Drea, CM, Hawk, JE, and Glickman, SE. "Aggression decreases as play emerges in infant spotted hyaenas: Preparation for joining the clan." Animal Behaviour 51.6 (1996): 1323-1336. Full Text

Drea, CM, Wallen, K, Akinbami, MA, and Mann, DR. "Neonatal testosterone and handedness in yearling rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)." Physiol Behav 58.6 (December 1995): 1257-1262.

Fagot, J, Drea, CM, and Wallen, K. "Asymmetrical hand use in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in tactually and visually regulated tasks." J Comp Psychol 105.3 (September 1991): 260-268.