Lisa Rapaport

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences Department

Office: 145 Long Hall
Phone: 864-656-0838


 Educational Background

Ph.D. Evolutionary Anthropology
University of New Mexico 1997

M.S. Anthropology
University of New Mexico 1990

 Courses Taught

Primatology, Biol/Anth 4740 & 4740L
Evolution of Human Behavior, Biol/Anth 4660 & 6660 CT2
Biological Anthropology, Anth/Biol 3510 CT2
Evolutionary Biology, Biol 3350
Evolution Reading Group, Biol 8070
Introduction to Anthropology Anth 2010


I am a behavioral ecologist with an emphasis in primatology. My research has been conducted on subjects in the field, in zoos and in primate research centers. I also have a strong interest in human behavioral ecology, particularly with regard to cultural transmission and in how the problem of large-scale cooperation was solved in human societies that as they transitioned from hunting-and-gathering or small-scale horticultural economies to early monetary, stratified systems.
Pedagogically, I am committed to fostering critical thinking and an open exchange of ideas among students.

 Research Interests

My research interests fall within the broad categories of behavioral ecology and conservation biology. Much of my research focuses on social relationships, cooperative rearing of young, and cognitive evolution of South American marmoset and tamarin monkeys. For instance, I have been studying the interplay between independent and social learning in wild golden lion tamarins. My lab has recently begun to investigate the topic of personality types in marmosets and tamarins, with the goal of understanding how consistent individual differences in sociability and boldness may impact health, reproduction and cooperative behaviors.

Another project, in collaboration with the Southwest National Primate Research Center, is exploring the effects of prenatal androgens on mortality, fertility, health and temperament. Specifically, we are comparing life-history trajectories and personalities of individuals that experienced gestation with male versus female littermates in at least four different callitrichine species.

I am deeply involved in conservation efforts for nonhuman primates and serve on the conservation committee of the International Primatological Society.


Rapaport, L.G., Paul, C., & Gerard, P. (2016). Hwæt!: Adaptive benefits to public displays of generosity and bravery in Beowulf. Behaviour. Special issue: Obstacles and Catalysts of Peaceful Behaviour. doi:10.1163/1568539X-00003348
French, J.A., Frye, B., Cavanaugh, J., Ren, D., Mustoe, A.C., Rapaport, L., Mickelberg, J. (2016). Gene changes may minimize masculinizing and defeminizing influences of exposure to male cotwins in female callitrichine primates. Biology of Sex Differences, 7, 28. doi:10.1186/s13293-016-0081-y
Rapaport, L.G. (2015). Is tolerance really teaching? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 38, e57 (2 pages). Doi: 10.1017/S0140525X14000703
Rapaport, L.G., Kloc, B., Warneke, M., Mickelberg, J. & Ballou, J. (2013). Do mothers prefer helpers? Birth sex-ratio adjustment in captive callitrichines. Animal Behaviour, 85(6), 1295-1303 doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.03.018
Rapaport, L.G. & Byrne, R.W. (2012). Reply to Thornton & McAuliffe 2012. Animal Behaviour, 84(3), e1-e3. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.06.013
Byrne, R.W. & Rapaport, L.G. (2011). What are we learning from teaching? Animal Behaviour, 82(5), 1207-1211. doi:10.1016/anbehav.2011.08.018
Rapaport, L.G. (2011). Progressive parenting behavior in wild golden lion tamarins. Behavioral Ecology, 22(4), 745-754. doi:10.1093/beheco/arr055
Rapaport, L.G. & Brown, G.R. (2008). Social influences on foraging behavior in young primates: learning what, where, and how to eat. Evolutionary Anthropology, 17(4), 189-201. doi: 10.1002/evan.20180


“Schooled: animals that teach their young” National Geographic
“Do animals teach?” National Wildlife Magazine
“Do golden lion tamarins teach their young?” Bioscience
“Are we the teachable species?” Discover Magazine