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Melissa Remis

Melissa Remis

Department Head // Anthropology

Professor // Anthropology

Office and Contact

Room: STON 315


Phone: (765) 496-1514


ANTH 204 Introduction to Human Evolution Anthropology 335 Primate Behavior
ANTH 235 The Great Apes
ANTH 335 Primate Behavior
ANTH 392 Anthropology of Parks: Communities and Conservation
ANTH 535 Foundations of Biological Anthropology
ANTH 536 Primate Ecology

Melissa Jane Remis received her PhD from Yale University in 1994, and joined the Purdue University faculty in 1996.


Africa; Biological Anthropology: Primate Ecology; Human Ecology; Nutrition; Conservation Biology; Hunter-gatherers; Environmental anthropology; Ecology; Wildlife; Multispecies relationships.

Dr. Remis’ field-based research in the Central African Republic originally focused on the behavioral ecology of western gorillas, which were poorly known before she initiated her field research in the late 1980s. She is currently engaged in collaborative ecological and ethnographic research on interrelated human and wildlife ecologies, diet, health, and social impacts of extractive industry and conservation in Central Africa. Dr. Remis has also led an experimentally based research program on the evolution of feeding strategies among the African apes incorporating research on captive apes in zoological facilities. She has authored or coauthored over 38 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Conservation Biology, American Anthropologist, American Journal of Primatology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, International Journal of Primatology, and Primates. She has presented papers at national and international conferences and has been invited to participate at special conferences and to contribute to edited volumes. She has served as a reviewer and board panel member for granting agencies including NSF and Wenner-Gren and academic journals in physical anthropology, primatology, ecology and conservation. She was named to the editorial board at the International Journal of Primatology in 2003 and the African Primate Section of the International Union of Conservation in 2016. At Purdue, she has taught courses on Primate Ecology, Conservation and Behavior, and Biological Anthropology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. She has trained US and central African graduate students in African field research and undergraduates in zoo based research. Remis Research Group Please follow this link for more information about Dr. Remis, her graduate students, and the current research that they are conducting.


Positions at Purdue University

2018-Present | Department Head, Department of Anthropology

2015-2018 | Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, College of Liberal Arts

2014-15 | Interim Department Head, Department of Anthropology

2008 - Present | Professor of Anthropology

2001 - 2008 | Associate Professor of Anthropology

1996 - 2001 | Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Most Recent Publications

Remis, M.J. And C.A. Jost Robinson.  2020 Elephants, Hunters, And Others: Enduring Identities and Multispecies Entanglements in A Conservation Zone. American Anthropologist 122: 459-472.  doi:10.1111/aman.13414

Jost Robinson, CA and MJ Remis. 2018. Engaging Holism: Exploring Multispecies Approaches in Ethnoprimatology.  International Journal of Primatology.

Dore, K.S., Jost Robinson, CA and MJ Remis.   2018. Critically engaged conservation: social scientific reflections on primate conservation and sustainable development. Primatology, Biocultural Diversity and Sustainable Development in Tropical Forests, p. 28-49.  Primatology and International Cooperation.  UNESCO Office Mexico 385pp. ISBN 978-607-7579-82-3

Remis, M.J. and C.A. Jost Robinson. 2017. Nonhuman Primates and "Others" in the Dzanga Sangha Reserve: The Role of Anthropology and Multispecies Approaches in Ethnoprimatology. Dore, K.M., Riley, E.P. and A. Fuentes. eds. Ethnoprimatology: A Practical Guide to Research on the Human-Nonhuman Primate Interface. Cambridge University Press.

Jost-Robinson, J., L. A. Daspit and M.J. Remis.  2017. Monkeys on The Menu? Reconciling Patterns of Primate Hunting and Consumption In A Central African Village.  Waller, M. ed. Ethnoprimatology: Primate conservation in the 21st Century.  Springer Press.


Selected Publications

Jost Robinson, C.A. and M.J. Remis. 2015.  BaAka Women’s Health and Subsistence Practices In Transitional Conservation Economies: Variation With Age, Household Size, And Food Security. American Journal of Human Biology 28: 453-460. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22817

Remis, Melissa J. and C.A. Jost Robinson. 2014. Examining short-term nutritional status among BaAka foragers in transitional economies American Journal of Physical Anthropology. |DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22521

Jost Robinson, C.A. and Remis, M.J. 2014. Entangled Realms: Hunters and Hunted in the Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic. Anthropology Quarterly. 87(3): 613-633.

Malone, N., Fuentes, A., Riley, E.P., M. Remis, A.H. Wade and C.J. Robinson 2014. Ethnoprimatology: critical interdisciplinarity and multispecies approaches in anthropology Theme issue: “Critical perspectives on multi-species ethnography. Critique of Anthropology 34:8-29.

Remis, M.J. and C.A. Jost Robinson 2012.  Reductions in primate abundance and diversity in a multiuse protected area: synergistic impacts of hunting and logging in a Congo Basin forest, American Journal of Primatology 74: 602-612.

Remis, M.J. and R. Hardin. 2009. Transvalued Species in an African Forest. Conservation Biology v. 23(6):1588-1596.

Hardin, R and Remis, M.J. 2006. Biological and Cultural Anthropology of a Changing Tropical Forest: A Fruitful Collaboration Across Subfields American Anthropologist v 108 (2) 273-285.

Remis, M.J. 1997. Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) as seasonal frugivores: Use of variable resources. American Journal of Primatology, 43:87-109.

Remis, M.J. 1995. Use of trees by lowland gorillas: The importance of body size and social context. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 97(4): 413-433.


Extramural Grant Support

National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

National Geographic Society.

World Wildlife Fund-US& Primate Conservation Inc.,


Field Experience

Multispecies relationships in a Conservation Zone, Central African Republic (CAR)

Diet, food security and sociocultural change among hunter-gathers in transition to market economies in conservation zones in the Central African Republic.

Impacts of human disturbance on mammal populations in the Congo Basin, Dzanga Sangha Reserve, Central African Republic (CAR).

Diet, Nutrition, Food preferences, taste & digestion and captive management among apes.

Feeding ecology and positional behavior of gorillas, CAR.