Skip to content
Chris Young

Chris Young

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr. Chris Young is a senior lecturer in Evolution and Social Behaviour in the Department of Psychology.

Career overview

Before joining NTU as a senior lecturer I was a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany where I researched the evolution of social behaviour in apes. Before that I was a senior post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, where I researched the links between endocrinology and social behaviour. I was also a post-doctoral fellow at the University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa, where my research focused on the thermal competence and social behaviour of non-human primates under extreme environmental conditions. I gained my PhD in biology from the University of Göttingen, Germany, a MRes in Primatology from the University of Roehampton and a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the Univserity of Edinburgh.

Research areas

My primary research interest is in the evolution of sociality and the links between social behaviour, endocrinology and fitness. I study a range of non-human primates in order to understand the adaptive benefits of social behaviour at the individual, group and population level within and between species. I combine behavioural, genetic and endocrine methodology with multivariate Bayesian statistics to understand the physiological and behavioural costs and benefits of group living and how ecological and cognitive factors shape social behaviour in group-living animals.

The research covers a range of topics including:

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Endocrinology
  • Individual differences
  • Social behaviour
  • Stress physiology

I am also a member of the Evolution and Social Interaction Research Group.


Young, C., & Robbins, M. M. (2022). Association patterns of female gorillas. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B378(1868), 20210429.

McFarland, R., Henzi, S. P., Fuller, A., Hetem, R. S., Young, C., & Barrett, L. (2022). The thermal consequences of primate birth hour and its evolutionary implications. Biology Letters18(1), 20210574.

Blersch, R., Bonnell, T. R., Ganswindt, A., Young, C., Barrett, L., & Henzi, S. P. (2021). Sick and tired: sickness behaviour, polyparasitism and food stress in a gregarious mammal. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology75(12), 1-15.

McFarland, R., Henzi, S. P., Barrett, L., Bonnell, T., Fuller, A., Young, C., & Hetem, R. S. (2021). Fevers and the social costs of acute infection in wild vervet monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences118(44).

Kavanagh, E., Street, S. E., Angwela, F. O., Bergman, T. J., Blaszczyk, M. B., Young, C., ... & Slocombe, K. (2021). Dominance style is a key predictor of vocal use and evolution across nonhuman primates. Royal Society open science8(7), 210873.

Blersch, R., Henzi, P., Barrett, L., Bonnell, T. R., Ganswindt, A., & Young, C. (2021). Sick and Tired: Polyparasitism, Food Stress and Sickness Behaviour in a Gregarious Mammal. bioRxiv.

Bonnell, T.R.,Vilette, C., Young, C., Henzi, S.P. and Barrett, L. (2021). Formidable females redux: male social integration into female networks and the value of dynamic multilayer networks. Current Zoology: zoaa041.

Mathewson, P.D., Porter, W.P., Barrett, L., Fuller, A., Henzi, S.P., Hetem, R.S., Young, C., and McFarland, R. (2021). Field data confirm the accuracy of a biophysical model’s prediction of primate energetics and behaviour. Journal of Thermal Biology, 94: 102754.

McFarland, R., Barrett, L., Fuller, A., Hetem, R.S., Porter, W.P., Young, C., and Henzi, S.P. (2020). Infrared thermography cannot be used to approximate core body temperature in wild primates? American Journal of Primatology, e23204.

Jarrett, J.D., Bonnell, T., Jorgensen, M.J., Schmitt, C.A., Young, C., Dostie, M., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S.P., (2020). Modelling variation in the growth of wild and captive juvenile vervet monkeys in relation to diet and resource availability. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 171(1), pp. 89–99.

Young M.M.I., Winters, S., Young, C., Weiß, B.M., Troscianko, J., Ganswindt, A., Barrett, L., Henzi, S.P., Higham, J.P. and Widdig, A. (2020). Male characteristics as predictors of genital color and display variation in vervet monkeys. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 74(2), pp. 1-14.

Young, C., Bonnell, T.R., Brown, L., Dostie, M.J., Ganswindt, A., Kienzle, S., McFarland, R., Henzi, S.P. and Barrett, L. (2019). Climate induced stress and mortality in vervet monkeys. Royal Society Open Science, 6: 191078.

Young, C., McFarland, R., Ganswindt, A., Young, M.M.I., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S.P. (2019). Residency and dispersal (triggers) in a seasonal breeder with influential females. Animal Behaviour, 154, pp. 29-37.

Young, C., (2019). Agonistic behaviour. In: Vonk, J., and Shackelford, T. Encyclopaedia of Animal Cognition and Behaviour. Springer, Cham.

Blersch, R., Archer, C., Suleman, E., Young, C., Kindler, D., Barrett, L., Henzi, S.P. (2019). Gastrointestinal parasites of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythus) in a high latitude, semi-arid region of South Africa. Journal of Parasitology, 105(4): pp. 630–637.

Minkner, M. M. I., Young, C., Amici, F., McFarland, R., Barrett, L., Grobler, J. P., Henzi, S. P. and Widdig, A. (2018). Establishment of highly polymorphic STR markers to assess male reproductive skew in wild vervet monkeys. Journal of Heredity, pii:5110829.

Jarrett, J.D., Bonnell, T., Young, C., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S.P. (2018).Network integration and limits to social inheritance in vervet monkeys. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285, 20172668.

Young, C. (2017). Feelings of excitement and Brotherhood. In: Shackelford, T., and Weekes-Shackelford, V. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

Young, C., Ganswindt, A., McFarland, R., De Villiers, C., Van Heerden, J., Ganswindt, S., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S.P. (2017). Faecal glucocorticoid metabolite monitoring as a measure of physiological stress in captive and wild vervet monkeys. General and Comparative Endocrinology253, pp.53-59.

Henzi, S.P., Hetem, R., Fuller, A., Maloney, S., Young, C., Mitchell, D., Barrett, L. and McFarland, R. (2017). Consequences of sex‐specific sociability for thermoregulation in male vervet monkeys during winter. Journal of Zoology, 302(3), pp.193-200.

Young, C., McFarland, R., Barrett, L. and Henzi, S.P. (2017). Formidable females and the power trajectories of socially integrated male vervet monkeys. Animal Behaviour125, pp.61-67.

Freeman N.J., Young C., Barrett L. and Henzi S.P. (2016). Coalition Formation by Male Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) in South Africa. Ethology,122(1), pp. 45-52.

Young, C., Majolo, B., Heistermann, M., Schülke, O. & Ostner, J. (2014). Responses to social and environmental stress are attenuated by strong male bonds in wild macaques. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (51), pp. 18195–18200.

Young ,C., Majolo, B., Schülke, O. & Ostner, J. (2014). Male social bonds and rank predict supporter selection in cooperative aggression in wild Barbary macaques. Animal Behaviour, 95, pp. 23-32.

Thunström, M., Kuchenbuch, P., & Young, C. (2014). Concealing of facial expressions in a wild Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus). Primates, 55, pp. 365-375.

Young, C., Schülke, O. & Ostner, J. (2014). Beyond mutual tolerance - how males form coalitions against group rivals and the Pandit/van Schaik coalition model. Behaviour, 151 (7), pp. 907-934.

Young, C., Hähndel, S., Majolo, B., Schülke, O. & Ostner, J. (2013) Male coalitions, dominance rank and female preferences independently affect male mating success in wild Barbary macaques. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 67, pp.1665-1677.

Majolo, B., McFarland, R., Young, C.and Qarro, M. (2013) The Effect of climatic factors on the activity budgets of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus). International Journal of Primatology, 34, pp. 500-514.

Young, C., Majolo, B., Heistermann, M., Schülke, O. and Ostner, J. (2013). Male mating behaviour in relation to female sexual swellings, socio-sexual behaviour and hormonal changes in wild Barbary macaques. Hormones and Behavior, 63, pp. 32-39.

Young, C., Schülke, O., Ostner, J. and Majolo, B. (2012). Consumption of unusual prey items in the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus). African Primates, 7, pp. 224-229.

See all of Christopher Young's publications...