Dr. Elliot Howard Spink

Max Planck Research Group Schuppli

Main Focus

My research focuses on how apes structure ecologically-relevant skills, and how they acquire and retain skills throughout their lifetimes. My current research investigates how different forms of social learning influence the development of feeding repertoires in wild orangutans (from birth to approximately 6-8 years old, when they reach independence). My research uses long-term data collected by the SUAQ team, and a mixture of statistical and agent-based models to create experimental simulations of orangutan development in-silico. Agent-based models are used to test how social learning influences development, by permitting agents to engage in different social behaviours whilst they age.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Bachelors Degree in Biological Sciences, University of Oxford (2013-2016).
  • Post-Graduate Certificate of Secondary Education (Secondary Science), Birmingham City University (2016-2017).
  • DPhil in Biological Sciences, University of Oxford (2018-2023). Thesis Title: Sequential Organization, Development, and Senescence of Stone-Tool Use Across Wild Chimpanzee Lifetimes.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (2023-Present).
  • Visiting Academic, Mielke Research Group, Queen Mary University, London (2024-Present).
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