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Dr Auguste von Bayern

Dr. Auguste von Bayern
Tel: +44 1865 271171
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My research interest lies in exploring the working of the minds of animals and humans, whether and how animals ‘think’, what they think about, as well as gaining insight in the selection pressures that have shaped their minds. In particular, I am interested in the socio-cognitive abilities evolved by (pair-)bonded species.

I joined Alex Kacelnik’s research group after having completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge, Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour, under the supervision of Dr. Nathan J. Emery, investigating social cognition of jackdaws in August 2008. Currently, I continue and expand my work on cognitive abilities of corvids and parrots, social reasoning and ‘theory of mind’ in nonhuman animals. In this context I am setting up a breeding program for our captive New Caledonian crows and work with captive and wild jackdaws.

Interested students are encouraged to contact me. Volunteers, e.g. for assisting in the hand-raising of young New Caledonian crows (hopefully!) and jackdaws, are always welcome.

Currently, I am collaborating with Dr. Gyula Gajdon and Alice Auersperg (Cognition Research, University of Vienna) , Dr. Chris Schlögl, Dr. Christine Schwab (Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle Grünau) and Ira Federspiel (Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour, Cambridge).


As undergraduate I studied Biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany. In addition, I frequented the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology Seewiesen assisting in several field projects, e.g. with Prof. Bart Kempenaers or Prof. Heribert Hofer. Determined to return to Africa after having worked as a research assistant in a project on spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) in the Serengeti National Park Tanzania, I obtained my BSc Honours (Zoology) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. At UCT I could pursue my interest in behavioural ecology studying cooperatively breeding mole-rats (Cryptomys mechowi) with Dr. Justin O’Riain.

Other interests include conservation, animal welfare and the communication and information transfer between social and natural sciences. Apart from work, I enjoy outdoor sports (horse-back riding, marathon training, mountain sports and scuba diving), travelling, classical music, drawing and photography.


Academic theses:

von Bayern AMP (2002) Social behaviour and dynamics in a colony of cooperatively breeding giant Zambian mole-rats (Cryptomys mechowi). BSc Honours thesis, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, ZA

von Bayern AMP. (2008) Cognitive foundations of jackdaw social intelligence. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK

Journal articles & book chapters:

von Bayern, AMP, Heathcote, RJP, Rutz, C, Kacelnik, A. (2009). The Role of Experience in Problem Solving and Innovative Tool Use in Crows. Current Biology, 19(22): 1965-1968. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.037

von Bayern AMP., de Kort SR, Clayton NS & Emery NJ (2007). The role of food- and object-sharing in the development of social bonds in juvenile jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Behaviour 144: 711-733

Emery NJ, Seed AM, von Bayern AMP & Clayton NS (2007). Cognitive adaptations of social bonding in birds. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B 326: 489-505

von Bayern AMP & Emery NJ (2009). Jackdaws respond to human attentional states and social cues in different contexts. Current Biology: accepted

von Bayern AMP & Emery NJ (2009). Bonding, mentalising and rationality. Book chapter in “Rational animals. irrational humans.” Keio University Press, Tokyo, Japan: in press

Popular science:

30 min. documentary on jackdaws (‘Dohlensommer auf Schloß Leutstetten’) produced by the Bayerischer Runfunk (BR), as part of their series ‘Welt der Tiere’ (2007)