Short CV/Education and training

  • 2016
    Professor for Primate Cognition, University of Göttingen and Head of the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center Göttingen

  • 2004
    Professor for Ethology, University of Göttingen and Head of the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center Göttingen

  • 2004
    Habilitation (postdoctoral qualification) at the University of Leipzig, Heisenberg Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG)

  • 2000
    Habilitation (postdoctoral qualification) fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

  • 1997
    Post-doctoral fellow, University of Pennsylvania, USA

  • 1996
    Doctorate at the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin

  • 1993
    Diplom degree in biology, Freie Universität (FU) Berlin, Germany

Selected publications

  • Fischer J, Price T (2017). Meaning, intention, and inference in primate vocal communication. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, epub ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.10.014

  • Fischer J, Kopp GH, Dal Pesco F, Goffe A, Hammerschmidt K, Kalbitzer U, Klapproth M, Maciej P, Ndao I, Patzelt A, Zinner D (2017)

  • Charting the neglected West: the social system of Guinea baboons

  • Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, Volume 162, Issue Supplement S63, pp 15-31

  • Almeling L, Hammerschmidt K, Sennhenn-Reulen H, Freund AM, Fischer J (2016). Motivational shifts in aging monkeys and the origins of social selectivity. Current Biology 26: 1744-9

  • Schmitt V, Federspiel I, Eckert J, Keupp S, Tschernek L, Faraut L, Schuster R, Michels C, Sennhenn-Reulen H, Bugnyar T, Mussweiler T, Fischer J (2016). Do monkeys compare themselves to others?
 Animal Cognition 19: 417-28

  • Price T, Wadewitz P, Cheney D, Seyfarth R, Hammerschmidt K, Fischer J (2015). Vervets revisited: A quantitative analysis of alarm call structure and context specifici-ty. Scientific Reports 5: 13220

  • Patzelt A, Kopp GH, Ndao I, Kalbitzer U, Zinner D, Fischer J (2014). Male tolerance and male-male bonds in a multi-level primate society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 14740-5

  • Maciej P, Patzelt A, Ndao I, Hammerschmidt K, Fischer J (2013). Social monitoring in a multilevel society: a playback study with male Guinea baboons. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 61-8

  • Wheeler BC, Fischer J (2012). Functionally referential signals: a promising paradigm whose time has passed. Evolutionary Anthropology 21: 195-205

  • Schmitt V, Fischer J (2011). Representational format determines numerical competence in monkeys. Nature Communications 2: 257

  • Fischer J, Hammerschmidt K (2011). Ultrasonic vocalizations in mouse models for speech and socio-cognitive disorders: insights into the evolution of vocal communication. Genes, Brain and Behavior 10: 17-27

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Social behaviour and communication among Guinea baboons

  • Cognition and communication among Old World monkeys

  • Genetic foundations for communicative abilities

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Member, Senate of the DFG, since 2015

  • Frauen in der Wissenschaft (Women in Science) – Robert Bosch Foundation, 2006 – 2014

  • Scientific Advisory Board of the Ernst Strüngmann Forum, Frankfurt, since 2011

  • European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants Panel Chair 2012 and 2014

Media coverage


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  1. Male Bonding Promotes Evolution of Complex Social Systems

    Instead of permanent competition, male Guinea baboons show tolerance and cooperative ties between each other, as Julia Fischer and her team from the German Primate Center in Göttingen could show in their recent study.