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Post-doctoral researcher

 04 72 72 64 59


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Teams : HELAN2 

  Training and professional background
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I am an ethologist interested in the study of communication in primates. My expertise focuses particularly on the bonobo, human’s closest living relative along with the chimpanzee.
My post-doctoral project aims at exploring the effect of early social experience on the development of communicative abilities in bonobos by analyzing playful interactions. This research stems from the collaboration between the Laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage and the Equipe de Neuro-Ethologie Sensorielle of the University of Saint-Etienne.



PhD in Behavioural Biology - University of Parma, Italy
Emotional and intentional communication in bonobos (Pan paniscus)


Master in Evolution of Animal and Human Behaviour - University of Torino, Italy
Audience effect and multimodality in bonobo communication (Pan paniscus)


Bachelor Degree in Natural Sciences - University of Torino, Italy
The impact of fishing on the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in Sardinia




Social Cognition


Evolution of Human Language


Primate Communication




Play Behaviour




Behavioural Data Collection on Bonobos

  • La Vallée des Singes (France - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019)
  • Lola Ya Bonobo (Democratic Republic of Congo - 2018)
  • Planckendael Zoo (Belgium - 2017)
  • Wilhelma Zoo (Germany - 2009, 2015)
  • Apenheul Primate Park (The Netherlands - 2009)





  • 2019: Prix AAUL Best foreign Post-Doctoral Researcher of the University of Lyon (3000 €)
  • 2012: Optime Award, Recognition of Academic Value – Best Graduated Student of 2011-2012
  • 2011: Best Oral Presentation, XX National Congress of the Association of Italian Primatologists





  • TD ANIMAL COGNITION - L2 Sciences Cognitives - Université Lumière Lyon 2
  • CM ANIMAL COGNITION - L2 Sciences Cognitives - Université Lumière Lyon 2


    LA SCIENCE TAILLE XX ELLES - Women & Science

      I am very proud to be one of the women scientists taking part in the project "LA SCIENCE TAILLE XX ELLES" fostered by the association "Femmes & Sciences" which aims to encourage girls to undertake careers in Science.

      If you want to know more, please visit:


    Chapters in books

    Palagi, E. & Demuru, E., 2017, "Pan paniscus or Pan ludens? Bonobos, playful attitude and social tolerance", in BONOBOS: Unique in Mind, Brain and Behavior, Hare, B. & Yamamoto, S. (eds), Oxford University Press


    Demuru, E., Pellegrino, F., Dediu, D. & Levréro, F., 2020, "Foraging postures are a potential communicative signal in female bonobos", Scientific Reports, 10:15431


    Demuru, E., Ferrari, P. & Palagi, E., 2018, "Is birth attendance a uniquely human feature? New evidence suggests that Bonobo females protect and support the parturient", Evolution and Human Behavior, 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.05.003


    Palagi, E., Leone, A., Demuru, E. & Ferrari, P., 2018, "High-ranking geladas protect and comfort others after conflicts", Scientific Reports, 8:15291


    Baragli, P., Demuru, E., Scopa, C. & Palagi, E., 2017, "Are horses capable of mirror self-recognition? A pilot study.", PLoS ONE, 12:5, pp. e0176717


    Norscia, I., Demuru, E. & Palagi, E., 2016, "Difference in contagious yawning between susceptible men and women: why not?", Royal Society Open Science, 3:9, pp. 1075 – 1102


    Cordoni, G., Demuru, E., Ceccarelli, E. & Palagi, E., 2016, "Play, aggression and reconciliation in preschool children: What matters?", Behaviour, 153:9-11, pp. 1075-1102


    Norscia, I., Demuru, E. & Palagi, E., 2016, "She more than he: gender bias supports the empathic nature of yawn contagion in Homo sapiens", Royal Society Open Science, 3:2, pp. 150459


    Palagi, E., Cordoni, G., Demuru, E. & Bekoff, M., 2016, "Fair play and its connection with social tolerance, reciprocity and the ethology of peace", Behaviour, 153:9-11, pp. 1195 – 1216


    Palagi, E., Stanyon, R. & Demuru, E., 2015, "Play to learn, teach by play", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 38


    Demuru, E., Ferrari, P. & Palagi, E., 2015, "Emotionality and intentionality in bonobo playful communication", Animal Cognition, 18, pp. 333-344


    Palagi, E., Norscia, I. & Demuru, E., 2014, "Yawn contagion in humans and bonobos: emotional affinity matters more than species", PeerJ, 2, pp. e519


    Palagi, E., Dall'Olio, S., Demuru, E. & Stanyon, R., 2014, "Exploring the evolutionary foundations of empathy: consolation in monkeys", Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, pp. 341-349


    Demuru, E. & Palagi, E., 2012, "In Bonobos Yawn Contagion Is Higher among Kin and Friends", PloS ONE, 7, pp. e49613


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