Anne Zeller


Anne Zeller, Distinguished Professor Emerita, received a BSc from Trent University (1970) and her M.A.(1971) and Ph.D (1978) from the University of Toronto. She retired from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo in 2010. During her graduate studies she worked on chromosome analysis, comparing chimpanzee and human chromosomes. She has undertaken primate field research in Morocco and Gibraltar, and Borneo in 1988. In 1992 Dr. Zeller spent 4 months in Africa observing primates in their natural habitat. This project sprang from a concern about the welfare of primates in the wild and how they are influenced by the needs of humans in developing countries. These two types of research combine interests in the physical development of humans from their primate ancestors, and the behavioral patterns of primates which are similar to those found among humans. However, her approach to physical anthropology is very wide ranging and she has presented papers on witchcraft, dietary influences on behaviour, the role of children in evolution, and child abuse in primates, as well as on her major focus of primate communication. She is also interested in the use of film in research.  Her research also includes the interactions of adults and infants in the socializing process of Macaca fascicularis, the crab eating macaque of Indonesia.

Dr. Zeller has made a number of videos on primate behaviour from material she recorded on free-ranging prosimians, monkeys and apes in Africa and Indonesia, as well as research sites in North America and Europe. In addition, she has produced videos on human evolution.  She has produced a video on the place of chimpanzees in today’s world as well as a video on New World monkeys. Information about Dr. Zeller’s films can be found here.

Selection of Publications

A series of lectures available online on the subject “Human Communication as a Primate Heritage“, as well as a series of book reviews on primates and communication through the Cyber Semiotic Institute.

2004 – Socioecology or Tradition. In Reviews in Anthropology. March (Forthcoming).

2001 – Pretending in Monkeys. In Pretence in Animals and Children. Ed. R.W. Mitchell. Cambridge University Press, pp. 183-195.

2001 – Out of Awareness: Into Perception. Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society Vol. 27(1-2), pp. 63-73.

1996 – The Interplay of Kinship Organisation and Facial Communication in the Macaques. In Evolution and Ecology of Macaque Societies, John E. Fa and Donald G. Lindburg, eds., Ch. 24. New York: Cambridge University Press.

1994 – Evidence of Structure in Macaque Communication. In The Ethological Roots of Culture. R.A. Gardner et al eds., pp. 15-39. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

1992 – Communication in the Social Unit. In Social Processes and Mental Abilities in Non-Human Primates. Dr. F.D. Burton ed. Queenston: Edwin Mellon Press. pp 61-89.

1992 – Grooming Interactions Over Infants in Four Species of Primates. Visual Anthropology 5. pp. 63-86.

1991 – Human Response to Primate Deviance. Anthropologica 33(1-2). pp 39-68.

1991 – The Grieving Process in Non-Human Primates. In Coping with The Final Tragedy. D. Counts and D. Counts eds. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood Press. pp. 5-26.

1990 – Arctic Hysteria in Salem. Anthropologica. Vol 23:239-264.

1990 – The Study of Visual and Vocal Communication. In Primates: Recherches Actuelles. J.J. Roeder and J.R. Anderson eds. Paris: Masson Press.

1987 – A Role for Children in Hominid Evolution. Man. Vol. 22(3):528-557.

1987 – Communication by Sight and Smell. In Primate Societies, B. Smuts, D. Cheney, R. Seyfarth, R. Wrangham and T. Struhsaker, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 433-439.

1986 – Comparison of Component Patterns in Threatening and Friendly Gestures in Macaca sylvanus of Gibraltar. Current Perspectives in Primate Social Dynamics, D.M. Taub and F.A. King, eds. Van Nostrand Reinhold Press. pp. 487-504.

1985 – Component Patterns in Gesture Formation in Macaca sylvanus of Gibraltar. Canadian Review of Physical Anthropology 4(2):35-42.

1984 – Thoughts on the Moral, Legal, Ethical and Social Aspects of Teaching Language to Non-Human Forms – or What Do You Do When Your Chimpanzee Says “No”. Canadian Journal of Anthropology. Vol. 4, No. 1, Summer. pp. 83-87.

1984 – Signes des Signes. International Semiotic Spectrum, No. 2. June 1984. A publication of the Toronto Semiotic Circle.

1983 – The Use of Film in the Study of Primate Communication. Society for the Anthropological Study of Visual Communication Newsletter, Vol. 11(2).

1982 – Speaking of Clever Apes. Recherches Semiotiques/Semiotic Inquiry, Vol. 2(3):276-308.

1980 – Primate Facial Gestures: A Study of Communication. Papers in Linguistics: International Journal of Human Communication 13(4):565-606.