Assistant Professor at Leiden University

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。



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