James Higham

James Higham

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Phone: 212-998-7477

Personal Website

Areas of Research/Interest

Sexual selection, communication, behavioral endocrinology.

Selected Publications

As Editor

Higham, J.P. & Roney, J. (Eds). 2016. Field endocrinology of nonhuman and human primates.

Hormones and Behavior

Higham, J.P. & Hebets, E.A. (Eds). 2013. Multimodal communication.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67 (9)

Higham, J.P. & Semple, S. (Eds). 2013. Primate signals.

American Journal of Primatology 75 (7)

Higham, J.P. (Ed). 2009. Primate coloration: measurement, mechanisms and function.

International Journal of Primatology 30 (6)


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Dubuc, C., Allen, W.L., Cascio, J., Lee, S.D., Maestripieri, D., Petersdorf, M., Winters, S. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Who cares? Experimental attention biases provide new insights into a mammalian sexual signal.
Behavioral Ecology

Winters, S., Dubuc, C. & Higham, J.P. 2015.The looking time experimental paradigm in studies of animal visual perception and cognition.
Ethology In press

Allen, W.L. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Assessing the potential information content of multicomponent visual signals: A machine learning approach.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142284 

Hughes, K.D., Higham, J.P., Allen, W.L., Elliot, A.J. & Hayden, B.Y. 2015. Extraneous red drives female macaques’ gaze toward photographs of male conspecifics.
Evolution and Human Behavior 36: 25-31

MacLarnon, A.M., Sommer, V., Goffe, A.S., Higham, J.P., Lodge, E., Tkaczynski, P. & Ross, C. 2014. Assessing adaptability and reactive scope: a new measure and a case study of environmental stress in forest-living baboons.
General and Comparative Endocrinology DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.09.022

Dubuc, C., Winters, S., Allen, W.L., Brent, L.J.N., Cascio, J., Maestripieri, D.M., Ruiz-Lambides, A., Widdig, A. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Sexually-selected skin color is heritable and related to fecundity in a non-human primate.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20141602

Mandalaywala, T.M., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Parker, K.J. & Maestripieri D. 2014. Physiological and behavioral stress responses to weaning conflict in free-ranging primate infants.

Animal Behaviour 91: 241-247

Allen, W.L., Stevens, M & Higham, J.P. 2014. Character displacement of Cercopithecini primate visual signals.

Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5266

Higham, J.P. & Maestripieri, D. 2014. The costs of reproductive success in Cayo Santiago male rhesus macaques.

International Journal of Primatology 35: 661-676

Dubuc, C., Allen, W.L., Maestripieri, D. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Is male rhesus macaque red colour ornamentation attractive to females?

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 1215-1224

Higham, J.P. 2014. How does honest costly signaling work?
Behavioral Ecology 25: 8-11

Higham, J.P. & Hebets, E.A. 2013. An introduction to multimodal communication.

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1381-1388

Wilson A., Dean, M. & Higham, J.P. 2013. A game theoretic approach to multimodal communication.

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1399-1415

Higham, J.P., Pfefferle, D., Heistermann, M., Maestripieri, D. & Stevens, M. 2013. Signaling in multiple modalities in male rhesus macaques: barks and sex skin coloration in relation to androgen levels, social status and mating behavior.

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1457-1469

Semple, S. & Higham, J.P. 2013. Primate signals: Current issues and perspectives.

American Journal of Primatology 75: 613-620

Allen, W.L. & Higham, J.P. 2013. Analyzing visual signals as visual scenes.

American Journal of Primatology 75: 664-682

Rigaill, L., Higham, J.P., Lee, PC., Blin, A. & Garcia, C. 2013. Multimodal sexual signaling and mating behavior in olive baboons (Papio anubis).

American Journal of Primatology 75: 774-787

Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2013. The endocrinology of male rhesus macaque social and reproductive status: a test of the challenge and social stress hypotheses.

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 19-30

Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Saggau, C., Agil, M., Perwitasari-Farajallah, D. & Engelhardt, A. 2012. Sexual signaling in the crested macaque and the evolution of primate fertility signals.

BMC Evolutionary Biology 12: 89

Mandalaywala, T.M., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Infant bystanders modulate the effects of ovarian hormones on socio-sexual behaviour in free-ranging female rhesus macaques.

Behaviour 148: 1137-1155

Higham, J.P., Girard-Buttoz, C., Engelhardt, A. & Heistermann, M. 2011 Urinary C-peptide of insulin as a non-invasive marker of nutritional status: some practicalities.

PLoS One 6: e22398

Higham, J.P., Hughes, K.D., Brent, L.J.N., Dubuc, C., Engelhardt, A., Heistermann, M., Maestripieri, D., Santos, L.R & Stevens, M. 2011. Familiarity affects assessment of facial signals of female fertility by free-ranging male rhesus macaques.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 3452-3458

Hoffman, C.L., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Prendergast, B., Coe, C. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Immune function and HPA axis activity in free-ranging rhesus macaques.

Physiology and Behavior 104: 507-514

Girard-Buttoz, C., Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M., Wedegärtner, S., Maestripieri, D. & Engelhardt, A. 2011. Urinary c-peptide measurement as a marker of nutritional status in macaques.

PLoS One 6: e18042

Higham, J.P., Heistermann, M. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. The energetics of male-male endurance rivalry in rhesus macaques.

Animal Behaviour 81: 1001-1007

Higham, J.P., Barr, C.S., Hoffman, C.L., Mandalaywala, T.M., Parker, K.J. & Maestripieri, D. 2011. Mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) variation, oxytocin levels and maternal behavior in free-ranging rhesus macaques.

Behavioral Neuroscience 125: 131-136

De Vere, R., Warren, Y., Nicholas, A., MacKenzie, M.E. & Higham, J.P. 2011. Nest site ecology of the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) in the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, Cameroon, with special reference to anthropogenic influence.

American Journal of Primatology 73: 253-261

Higham, J.P. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Revolutionary coalitions in male rhesus macaques.

Behaviour 147: 1889-1908

Higham, J.P., Vitale, A.B., Mas-Rivera, A., Ayala, J.E. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Measuring salivary analytes from free-ranging monkeys.

Physiology & Behavior 101: 601-607

Hoffman, C.L., Higham, J.P., Mas-Rivera, A., Ayala, J.E. & Maestripieri, D. 2010. Terminal investment and senescence in rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago.

Behavioral Ecology 21: 972-978

Higham, J.P., Brent, L.J.N., Dubuc, C., Accamando, A,K., Engelhardt, A., Gerald, M.S., Heistermann, M. & Stevens, M. 2010. Color signal information content and the eye of the beholder: a case study in the rhesus macaque.

Behavioral Ecology 21: 739-746

Higham, J.P. MacLarnon, A.M., Heistermann, M., Ross, C. & Semple, S. 2009. Self-directed behaviours and faecal glucocorticoid levels are not correlated in female wild olive baboons.

Stress 12: 526-532

Higham, J.P. Primate Coloration – An introduction to the special issue. 2009.

International Journal of Primatology 30: 749-751

Marty, J.M., Higham, J.P., Gadsby, E.L., & Ross, C. 2009 Color, dominance and social and sexual behavior in male drills.

International Journal of Primatology 30: 807-823

Stevens, M., Stoddard, M.C., & Higham, J.P. 2009. Studying primate color: towards visual system dependent methods.

International Journal of Primatology 30: 893-917

Higham, J.P., Semple, S. MacLarnon, A., Heistermann, M. & Ross, C. 2009. Female reproductive signals, and male mating behavior, in the olive baboon.

Hormones and Behavior 55: 60-67

Higham, J.P., Warren, Y., Adanu, J. Bubu, U. MacLarnon, A., Sommer, V. & Ross, C. 2009. Living on the edge: Life-history of olive baboons at Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria.

American Journal of Primatology 71: 293-304

Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A., Ross, C., Heistermann, M. & Semple, S. 2008 Baboon sexual swellings: Information content of size and color.

Hormones and Behavior 53: 452-462

Higham, J.P. Heistermann, M., Ross, C., Semple, S. & MacLarnon, A. 2008. The timing of ovulation with respect to sexual swelling detumescence in wild olive baboons.

Primates 49: 295-299

Higham, J.P., Ross, C., Warren, Y., Heistermann, M. & MacLarnon, A. 2007 Reduced reproductive function in wild baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) related to natural consumption of the African black plum (Vitex doniana).

Hormones and Behavior 52: 384-390

Asakura, T., Umemura, K., Nakazawa, Y., Hirose, H., Higham, J.P. & Knight, D. 2007 Some observations on the structure and function of the spinning apparatus in the silkworm Bombyx mori.

Biomacromolecules 8: 175-181

Higham, J.P. & Gosler, A.G. 2006 Speckled eggs: water loss and incubation behaviour in the Great tit Parus major.

Oecologia 149: 561-570

Gosler, A.G., Higham, J.P. & Reynolds, S.J. 2005 Why are birds’ eggs speckled?

Ecology Letters 8: 1105-1113

Book Chapters

Higham, J.P. Sperm competition.
In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press

Petersdorf, M. & Higham, J.P. Sexual swellings.
In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press

Petersdorf, M. & Higham, J.P. Mating systems. 

In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press

Higham, J.P. & Dubuc, C. The evolution of female fertility signals in macaques. 

In: eLS (Encyclopedia of Life Sciences). Wiley Blackwell. Hoboken: New Jersey. In Press

Higham, J.P. & Winters, S. Color and mate choice in nonhuman animals.

In: The handbook of color psychology (Eds Elliot, A.J. & Fairchild, M.D.) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. In Press

Higham, J.P. Multimodal Communication.

In: The missing lemur link: an ancestral step in human evolution (Palagi, E. & Norscia I.) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. In Press

Higham, J.P. 2013. Primate visual signals.

In: McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology 2014. McGraw-Hill Professional: New York

Warren, Y., Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A. & Ross, C. 2011. Crop-raiding and commensalism: the costs and benefits of living with humans.

In: Primates of Gashaka Eds. Sommer, V & Ross, C. Developments in primatology: progress and prospects. Springer. Series Ed. Tuttle, R.H.

Ross, C., Warren, Y., MacLarnon, A. & Higham, J.P. 2011. How different are Gashaka’s baboons? A comparison of forest-living and open-country populations.

In: Primates of Gashaka Eds. Sommer, V & Ross, C. Developments in primatology: progress and prospects. Springer. Series Ed. Tuttle, R.H.

Other journal publications

Winters, S. & Higham, J.P. 2015. Martin Stevens: Sensory Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution. International Journal of Primatology 36: 205-208

Dubuc, C. & Higham, J.P. 2014. Quite the complexion: rhesus monkey face redness is passed on to their offspring, and affects their reproductive fitness.

Biosphere 2: 50-55

Higham, J.P., Amann, A.L., Bryer, M.A.H., Thompson, N.A. & Winters, S. 2013. Review of “The Evolution of Primate Societies” (Eds. John C. Mitani, Josep Call, Peter M. Kappeler, Ryne A. Palombit & Joan B. Silk).

International Journal of Primatology 34: 1298-1303

Higham, J.P. 2011. Review of “The Japanese Macaques” (Eds., Naofumi, N., Nakamichi, N. & Sugiura, H.).

International Journal of Primatology 32: 1033-1036

Semple, S., Higham, J.P., MacLarnon, A., Ross, C. & Lehmann, J. 2010. Comment on ‘Pan Thanatology’.

Current Biology http://www.cell.com/current-biology/comments/S0960-9822(10)00145-4

Wiseman, R., Warren, Y., Nicholas, A., MacKenzie, M., & Higham, J.P. 2008. A GIS habitat map for the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, Cameroon.

Gorilla Journal 37: 12-14

Current News/Projects
Updated September 2014

Since my last update we have said goodbye to two people, Will Allen (for a post-doc at Hull University) and Constance Dubuc (for a post-doc at Cambridge University). Both Will and Constance will be sorely missed! We have welcomed the following new members: Susie Lee (PhD student, started Sept. 2013), Megan Petersdorf (PhD student, started Sept. 2013), Lauren Petrullo (MA student, started Sept. 2013), Alex DeCasien (PhD student, started Sept. 2014), and Rachel Petersen (PhD student, started Sept. 2014).

Our research interests in primate sexual selection, reproduction and communication have continued to develop, and several members of our group have undertaken visits to the field. In January 2014, I went with Sandra to the CERCOPAN sanctuary and to Gashaka, in Nigeria, while Susie visited Cayo Santiago. In the summer of 2014, Lauren went to Cayo Santiago, while Megan scoped several potential sites in Zambia for her dissertation research.

The hormone lab is now fully operational, and several projects have utilized this facility in 2013 and 14, with a number of other hormone projects lined up for this in the near future. It was also used to teach a new Primate Behavioral Endocrinology class, with students from NYU, several CUNY colleges, Stony Brook University and Rutgers University.

We have given a large number of conference presentations in 2014, including at the American Association of Physical Anthropology meetings in Calgary, the Animal Behavior Society conference in Princeton, the Evolution congress in North Carolina, the International Society for Behavioral Ecology Congress in NYC, and the International Primatological Society in Ha Noi. Constance and I organized a symposium on “Female mate choice in nonhuman and human primates” at AAPA (co-sponsored by the Human Biology Association), and I was kept busy throughout the year in my role as Co-Chair of the organizing committee for the ISBE congress (which 1150 people attended). In the Fall of 2014 I am also giving seminars/colloquia at Columbia University, Penn State University, and in NYU’s Dept. of Psychology.

Following 2013, in which among other publications I guest edited two journal special issues (of Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, on multimodal communication, with Eileen Hebets; and of American Journal of Primatology, on Primate Signals, with Stuart Semple), we have published another good number of papers in 2014. These include our first paper on guenon facial evolution, which was published in Nature Communications and covered in various news media, including Science, the BBC, The Times, Wired, Discover magazine, The Australian, and many others. We also have a new paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, in which we show that rhesus macaque facial coloration is both heritable and related to fecundity in both males and females.

We have recently launched our new website (www.nyuprimatology.com), complete with a new group name (Primate Reproductive Ecology and Evolution). We’re also about to join twitter! (Tweets by Megan.) We have undertaken a range of other outreach activities, including live-blogging on the Ken Ham-Bill Nye creation vs evolution debate for The Huffington Post.

A number of new and exciting projects are starting to develop, and I have agreed to guest edit a special issue of Hormones and Behavior on “Field endocrinology of nonhuman and human primates”. Check out our new website for our latest news!

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