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Tara McKenney

Tara McKenney

Research Specialist
Capuchin Research
Living Links Center
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
E-mail: tmckenn@emory.edu

While I have always been interested in biology, my fascination with non-human primates really began when I took a primate behavior and ecology course my freshman year at Yale University. While there, I majored in anthropology, focusing my studies on non-human primate behavior and cognition.  As my primate interests stem from an anthropological background, I am particularly focused on the phylogenetic origins of social and cognitive behavior as well as examining the evolutionary pressures that would result in such abilities.  During my time as an undergraduate, I also had the privilege of assisting in the Yale Comparative Cognition Lab, a laboratory focused on the cognitive capabilities of tufted capuchin monkeys.  During my time there, I collected data for graduate research projects and also conducted my own observational study on triadic awareness.

Recently I joined Dr. Frans de Waal’s Living Links Capuchin Lab as a research specialist, managing two colonies of tufted capuchin monkeys.  I am responsible for supervising and assisting in the various studies being conducted on aspects of capuchin social behavior and cognition as well as collecting, coding, and analyzing observational data.