Dr Cyril C Grueter

Started at UWA: 2012

Researcher gaining insight into human nature through the study of primates

I enjoy interacting with students and trying to instil in them the same fascination for the wonders of nature that led me to become a scientist in the first place. Dr Cyril C Grueter

Dr Cyril Grueter is a biological anthropologist in UWA’s School of Human Sciences and School of Biological Sciences. His work explores the evolution of group social organisation in humans and primates, where individuals of different social units overcome hostility to interact and collaborate.

Investigating tolerance and cooperation between primate social groups is an unresolved area of research in biological anthropology.

Through his work, Dr Grueter has developed a theoretical framework for the evolution of multi-level primate societies.

After receiving his PhD from the University of Zurich, Dr Grueter undertook three years of postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. During his PhD and postdoctoral research, he spent significant time in remote locations studying wild primates, such as mountain gorillas in Rwanda and snub-nosed monkeys in China.

Dr Grueter's fascination for our closest living relatives in nature has led him to conduct one of the most detailed studies on a mysterious primate species in China, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey. The primates he studies are critically endangered and he hopes learning more about their behaviour and raising awareness for their plight may increase their chance of survival.

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UWA Research Collaboration Award, 2016

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UWA Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 2012


Beards as badges of honour

Are beards ‘in’ again because guys are under pressure? Maybe. New research suggests the more competition a fellow has to deal with, the more flamboyant he becomes. Or at least that’s the case in primates, according to an international group of researchers led by The University of Western Australia’s Dr Cyril Grueter.



National Natural Science Foundation of China

  • ‘Beijing: Complexity of social structure, variation in individual relationships and population maintenance mechanisms in snub-nosed monkeys.’


University of Western Australia

  • UWA Research Collaboration Award: Initiating long-term research on a population of chimpanzees in Rwanda


National Natural Science Foundation of China

  • Collaborative research with the Institute of Zoology (Chinese Academy of Sciences)



2012 - Ongoing

Social network of snub-nosed monkey multilevel societies in China: How are complex multilevel societies structured and how do individuals interact within these societies?

2015 - Ongoing

Socioecological basis of supertroop formation in colobus monkeys in Rwanda: What allows these primates to form groups of several hundred individuals?

2015 - Ongoing

Socioecology of chimpanzees in a montane habitat in Rwanda: How can chimpanzees survive in a harsh high-altitude environment?

2014 - 2018

Determinants of intergroup conflict in mountain gorillas in Rwanda: Why do conflicts between gorilla groups sometimes escalate?


Find out more




Supervisor opportunities

Dr Grueter is open to supervising new PhD candidates.

There are opportunities available for students to conduct research on the behaviour and ecology of chimpanzees in Rwanda and possibly other primates.

He has previously supervised topics which include:

  • The causes and consequences of intergroup interactions in mountain gorillas
  • The effects of food availability on grouping patterns of eastern chimpanzees in a tropical Afromontane forest, Rwanda
  • Ecological factors influencing ranging in a montane population of chimpanzees, Rwanda
  • Understanding the social structure and ecological basis for the formation of supergroups in colobus monkeys in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
  • Habitat fragmentation and its effect on the eastern chimpanzee gut microbiome

Contact Dr Cyril Grueter