Department Sociobiology/Anthropology
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Cornelia Kraus

Curriculum vitae

  • Diploma in Biology, University of Göttingen (1997)
  • PhD, Department of Animal Behaviour, University of Bielefeld (2003)
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Animal Behaviour, University of Bielefeld (2003-2005)
  • Research scientist, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock (2005-2008)
  • Research scientist & lecturer, Department of Sociobiology/Anthropology, University of Göttingen (since 2008)

Research Interests

My scientific interests focus on the evolution of life history and behavioral strategies. Starting to age myself, I have recently become interested in the evolution of senescence. Why do females live longer in many species? Why do large dogs die young? These are some of the questions I would like to help answering. I use empirical as well as statistical modeling approaches to find out how factors such as sex and size contribute in shaping the diversity of ageing patterns we observe. Taking advantage of the huge variability in life history traits in the domestic dog, we aim to decompose the trade-off between size and lifespan by estimating hazard trajectories across breeds. On the more proximate side - at Kirindy Forest, Anni Hämäläinen has just started to investigate age trajectories of health and survival in mouse lemurs of both sexes to find out if the human health-survival paradox of frail females and dead males pertains to mouse lemurs too. I have many side interests and enjoy working on a wide variety of questions and model systems. Currently, I collaborate on projects studying the demography of the Galapagos sea lion, female genital masculinization in wild guinea pigs and social stress in rabbits.


I teach in various courses within the programs of the B.Sc. Biology and the M.Sc. Developmental, Neural, and Behavioral Biology at the University of Göttingen.

Scientific Services / Memberships / Cooperations

  • Courant Forschungszentrum „Evolution of Social Behavior“ University of Göttingen
  • German Primate Center (DPZ)
  • Ethologische Gesellschaft


Eckhardt F, Kappeler PM, Kraus C (2017) Highly variable lifespan in an annual reptile, Labord's chameleon (Furcifer labordi). Scientific Reports 7: 11397.
Huchard E, Schliehe-Diecks S, Kappeler PM, Kraus C (2017) The inbreeding strategy of a solitary primate, Microcebus murinus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30(1): 128–140.
Kaesler E, Kappeler PM, Brameier M, Demeler J, Kraus C, Rakotoniaina JH, Hämäläinen AM, Huchard E (2017) Shared evolutionary origin of major histocompatibility complex polymorphism in sympatric lemurs. Molecular Ecology 26(20): 5629-5645.
Rakotoniaina JH, Kappeler PM Kaesler E, Hämäläinen AM, Kirschbaum C, Kraus C (2017) Hair cortisol concentrations correlate negatively with survival in a wild primate population. BMC Ecology 17: 30.
Rakotoniaina JH, Kappeler PM, Ravoniarimbinina P, Pechouskova E, Hämäläinen AM, Grass J, Kirschbaum C, Kraus C (2016) Does habitat disturbance affect stress, body condition and parasitism in two sympatric lemurs? Conservation Physiology 4(1): cow034.
Hämäläinen A, Dammhahn M, Aujard F, Kraus C (2015) Losing grip: Senescent decline in physical strength in a small-bodied primate in captivity and in the wild. Experimental Gerontology 61: 54-61.
Hämäläinen A, Heistermann M, Kraus C (2015) The stress of growing old: sex- and season-specific effects of age on allostatic load in wild gray mouse lemurs. Oecologia 178(4): 1063-1075.
Hämäläinen A, Raharivololona B, Ravoniarimbinina P, Kraus C (2015) Host sex and age influence endoparasite burdens in the gray mouse lemur. Frontiers in Zoology 12: 25.
Higham JP, Kraus C, Stahl-Hennig C, Engelhardt A, Fuchs D, Heistermann M (2015) Evaluating noninvasive markers of nonhuman primate immune activation and inflammation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(4): 673-684.
Hämäläinen A, Dammhahn M, Aujard F, Eberle M, Hardy I, Kappeler PM, Perret M, Schliehe-Diecks S, Kraus C (2014) Senescence or selective disappearance? Age trajectories of body mass in wild and captive populations of a small-bodied primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20140830
Hämäläinen A, Heistermann M, Fenosoa ZS, Kraus C (2014) Evaluating capture stress in wild gray mouse lemurs via repeated fecal sampling: method validation and the influence of prior experience and handling protocols on stress responses. General and Comparative Endocrinology 195:68-79.
Kraus C, van Waveren C, Huebner F (2014) Distractible dogs, constant cats? A test of the distraction hypothesis in two domestic species. Animal Behaviour 93: 173-181.
Kraus C, Mueller B, Meise K, Piedrahita P, Pörschmann U, Trillmich F (2013). Mama’s boy: sex differences in juvenile survival in a highly dimorphic large mammal, the Galapagos sea lion. Oecologia 171: 893-903.
Kraus C, Pavard S, Promislow DEL (2013) The size-lifespan trade-off decomposed: Why large dogs die young. The American Naturalist 181: 492-505.
Kappeler PM, Kraus C (2010) Levels and mechanisms of behavioural variability. In: Animal Behaviour: Evolution and mechanisms. (Kappeler PM, ed). Springer, Berlin. pp. 655-684
Li Q, Reuser M, Kraus C, Alho J, (2009) Aging of a giant: a stochastic population forecast for China, 2001-2050. Journal of Population Research 26: 21-50.
Roedel HG, von Holst D, Kraus C (2009) Family legacies: short- and long-term fitness consequences of early life conditions in female European rabbits. Journal of Animal Ecology 78: 789–797.
Asher M, Lippmann T, Epplen JT, Kraus C, Trillmich F, Sachser N (2008) Social and mating system of the wild cavy, the ancestor of the guinea pig: large males dominate breeding. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62: 1509-1521.
Kraus C, Eberle M, Kappeler PM (2008) The costs of risky male behaviour: sex differences in seasonal survival in a small sexually monomorphic primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 275: 1635-1644.
Schubert K, Ramsay S, Otter K, Ratcliffe LM, Kraus C (2008) Between-year survival and rank transitions in male Blackcapped Chikadees: a multistate modeling approach. The Auk 125: 629-636.
Fichtel C, Kraus C, Ganswindt A, Heistermann M (2007) Influence of reproductive season and rank on fecal glucocorticoid levels in free-ranging male Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi). Hormones and Behavior 51: 640-648.
Kraus C, Künkele J, Trillmich F (2005) Reproduction and growth in a wild cavy, Cavia magna. Journal of Mammalogy 86: 763-772.
Kraus C, Thomson D, Künkele J, Trillmich F (2005) Living slow and dying young? Life history and age-specific survival rates in a precocial small mammal. Journal of Animal Ecology 74: 171-180.
Künkele J, Kraus C, Trillmich F (2005) Does the unusual life history of the precocial cavy (Cavia magna) translate into an exceptional field metabolic rate? Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 78: 48-54.
Kraus C, Rödel HG (2004) Where have all the cavies gone? Causes and consequences of predation by the minor grison for a wild cavy population. Oikos 105: 489-500
Trillmich F, Kraus C, Künkele J, Asher M, Clara M, Dekomien G, Epplen JT, Saralegui A, Sachser N (2004) Species level differentiation of two cryptic pairs of cavies, with a discussion of the relationship between social systems and phylogeny in the Caviinae. Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 516-524.
Kraus C, Künkele J, Trillmich F (2003) Spacing behaviour and its implications for the mating system of a precocial small mammal: an almost asocial cavy (Cavia magna)? Animal Behaviour 66: 225-238.
Kraus C, Heistermann M, Kappeler PM (1999) Physiological suppression of sexual function of subordinate males: a subtle form of intrasexual competition among male sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi)? Physiology and Behavior 66: 855-861.
Kraus C, Heistermann M, Kappeler PM (1998) Reproductive competition among male sifakas: the roles of sperm competition and physiological suppression. Folia Primatologica 69: 222.
Kraus C (1997) Fortpflanzungstaktiken männlicher Larvensifakas (Propithecus verreauxi). University of Göttingen, D.

Cornelia Kraus

Cornelia Kraus

Department Soziobiology/Anthropology
University Göttingen
Kellnerweg 6
D - 37077 Göttingen
Phone: +49 551 39 7358
Fax: +49 551 39 7299
Email: ckraus1(at)