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Assistant Professor at Leiden University
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Xuejing Du, MSc.

PhD student
(2017 – present)
Graduated from Lanzhou University, School of Life Sciences. At the moment he is finishing his Master degree in Environmental Biology, Utrecht University.
 

My name is Xuejing, it is my distinguished honour to join the CoPAN big family and work as a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Mariska Kret. I was a master student in behavioural ecology and I studied chimpanzee’s behaviour for my master project (supervised by Prof. Dr. EHM Sterck and Dr. Christine E Webb). After my master project, I decided to combine animal behavioural research and human psychological research. Finally, I am lucky to follow Dr. Mariska as a student and other outstanding students as my colleagues. 

In September 2017, I will start my PhD research, and I will conduct a comparative study of facial attractiveness of human and non-human primates. Like humans, our close relatives, bonobos and orangutans also have preferences in choosing their ideal partners. However, what kinds of mates capture their eyes most? Do they choose their “Mr/Miss right” by their faces? In this study, we are going to give the bonobos and orangutans touch-screens to see whether they have a special preference for the “attractive” partners over the “unattractive” ones. We also run a dot-probe test to investigate performance differences following different stimuli. The research sounds very funny, but it has a valuable purpose: If we found our answer is “Yes”, then it means that humans do not monopolize the facial preferences ability specifically, instead, bonobos and orangutans choose their mates by their facial appearance as well. Another academic purpose is that: compared to bonobos and humans, the orangutan is the only kind of solitary living great ape, if orangutans do not have the strong facial preferences but bonobos and humans have that ability instead, can we consider that the disparity of social structures plays a key role in the evolution of facial preferences ability as well? Moreover, if we could use this technology to allow bonobos and orangutans to choose their mate on the touch-screen themselves, our current study will be meaningful to both conservative and welfare aspects.

I know I am a basic student in primate area and I am luckily supervised by so many intelligent professors and teachers in Leiden, Utrecht, Lanzhou University. However, in here, I would like to appreciate all the participants, the volunteers and you readers because of your interest for science, your enthusiasm for animals and your trust in our scientific researchers. Your participation in our study (regardless of what is happening in the past, present or future) will always be the strongest support of us, the CoPAN group!

我的名字是杜学敬,我很高兴能够加入CoPAN大家庭并成为Mariska Kret博士的学生。我曾经是行为生态学硕士生,我的主要项目是研究灵长类动物黑猩猩的社会行为学(由EHM Sterck教授和Christine E Webb博士指导)。在我结束这个项目之后,我决定将动物行为研究与人类心理研究相结合。最后,我很幸运地成为玛丽丝卡博士的学生,也很高兴能有其他杰出的学生作为我的同事。

20179月,我将开始我的博士研究,我将对人类和非人灵长类动物的面部吸引力进行比较研究。像人类一样,我们的亲戚,倭黑猩猩和猩猩也会选择它们理想的伴侣。但是,什么样的伴侣最吸引他们的眼睛?他们是否通过面孔选择“真命天子/红颜知己”?在这项研究中,我们将给予倭黑猩猩和红猩猩触摸屏,看看他们是否特别偏爱“漂亮的”的异性,而不是“丑陋”的异性。我们还进行了点探针范式实验,以观察不同刺激的所引起的表现差异。研究听起来很有趣,但它有一个有价值的研究:如果我们发现我们的答案为“是”,那么这意味着人类并没有专门垄断对面部产生偏好的能力,而是倭黑猩猩和红猩猩也可以通过面部外观选择他们的伴侣。另一个学术目的是:与倭黑猩猩和人类相比,红猩猩是唯一种孤独的大猿,如果红猩猩没有强烈的面部偏好,而倭黑猩猩和人类有这样的能力,我们是否可以认为社会结构的差异在脸部偏好能力的形成中起到了关键作用?此外,如果我们可以利用这项技术让倭黑猩猩和猩猩在触摸屏上自己选择他们的伴侣,我们目前的研究对物种保护和动物福利方面都是有意义的。

我知道我只是灵长类动物地区的平凡学生,幸运的是有那么多来自乌特勒支大学,莱顿大学和兰州大学的教授和老师不离不弃的指导着我。但是,在这里,我想感谢所有的参与者,志愿者和读者你们对科学的兴趣,你们对动物的热情和对科学研究人员的信任使我十分感动。您对我们的研究的参与(不管在过去,现在还是将来)永远是对我们CoPAN科学研究组最强大的支持!

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