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France  Anglais  Last update : 21/04/2022     


Post-doctoral researcher



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Teams :   DiLiS 

  Training and professional background
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  Awards and research grants
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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 postdoctoral project aims at exploring the effect of early social experience on the development of communicative abilities in bonobos by analyzing playful interactions. Moreover, I am studying how bonobos communicate in the foraging and aggressive contexts.
My studies stem from the collaboration between the Laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage and the Equipe de Neuro-Ethologie Sensorielle of the University of Saint-Etienne within the Project ADYN-BONOBO of the LabEX ASLAN.



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




    2018-2019 / 2019-2020 / 2020-2021 / 2021-2022

  • 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:


    Edited books

    Demuru, E. & Giacoma, C. (eds), 2022, "Interacting primates: the biological roots of human communication", Taylor & Francis - Ethology, Ecology & Evolution

    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


    Caselli, M., Russo, E., Guéry, J.P., Demuru, E. & Norscia, I., 2023, "More Than Just Kibbles: Keeper Familiarity and Food Can Affect Bonobo Behavior", Animals, 13


    Caselli, M., Malaman, B., Cordoni, G., Guéry, J.P., Kok, J., Demuru, E. & Norscia, I., 2023, "Not lost in translation: Changes in social dynamics in Bonobos after colony relocation and fusion with another group", Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 261


    Demuru, E., Clay, Z. & Norscia, I., 2022, "What makes us apes? The emotional building blocks of intersubjectivity in hominids", Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 34


    Cordoni, G., Pirarba, L., Elies, S., Demuru, E., Guéry, J.P. & Norscia, I., 2022, "Adult–adult play in captive lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)", Primates, 1


    Norscia, I., Caselli, M., De Meo, G., Cordoni, G., Guéry, J.P. & Demuru, E., 2022, "Yawn contagion in bonobos: Another group, another story", American Journal of Primatology, 84


    Demuru, E. & Giacoma, C., 2022, "Interacting primates: the biological roots of human communication", Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 3


    Demuru, E., Caselli, M., Guéry, J.P., Michelet, C., Alexieff, F. & Norscia, I., 2022, "Female bonobos show social swelling by synchronizing their maximum swelling and increasing bonding", Scientific Reports, 12


    Cordoni, G., Gioia, M., Demuru, E. & Norscia, I., 2021, "The dark side of play: play fighting as a substitute for real fighting in domestic pigs, Sus scrofa.", Animal Behaviour , 175, pp. 21-31


    Anzà, S., Demuru, E. & Palagi, E., 2021, "Sex and grooming as exchange commodities in female bonobos’ daily biological market", Scientific Reports, 11


    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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