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Meet Dr Aliza le Roux, Prestige Scholar
2013-07-10

 

Dr Aliza le Roux
Ground-breaking research on gelada ape made waves.

Photo: Sonia Small
10 July 2013


Dr Aliza le Roux is an NRF Y2-rated senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology on the Qwaqwa Campus. She joined the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP) in 2013.

Dr le Roux has devoted the past decade to research on the cognitive and communicative skills of wild mammals in the arid regions of South Africa and the highlands of Ethiopia.

She spent four years as postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan, leading to ground-breaking work on the cognitive and communicative underpinnings of gelada monkey behaviour. This was published in Nature Communications and created waves in the international scholarly community.

Most recently, Dr le Roux has focused on the paternal care of an eccentric canid– the bat-eared fox. She is convinced that we have much to learn about ourselves from animals outside the primate order. This unusual little fox eats mainly termites, and males – rather than females – take care of the offspring. The reason why, is still a mystery Dr le Roux hopes to unravel. Little is known about the physiological stress that foxes face, or how paternal care affects the father, the mother, and the pups. Even in humans, the true impact of paternal care is poorly understood.

With this ground-breaking project, Dr le Roux hopes not only to describe the ecology and physiology of fatherhood, but also how a father’s care can affect the cognitive development of his offspring.

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