Prof Aliza le Roux

Prof Aliza le Roux

South Africa

University of the Free State

Zoology and Entomology

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Work and Research

I investigate cognition in wild animals, having studied the relatively solitary yellow mongoose, gregarious gelada monkey and currently focusing on the bat-eared fox, whose social system revolves around a need for extensive paternal care. Describing the intricacies of how mammals deal with complex social and ecological environments, I've already made significant scientific contributions, with 22 publications in high-impact journals, including Nature Communications, third among all multidisciplinary science journals. Despite studying in the rather specialist field of cognitive ecology, I have an h-index of 8, with >150 citations (Scopus). The consistently high quality of my work has resulted in some accolades.

Fields Of Expertise

Unique Animal Models
Animal cognition and behavior
Cognitive ecology

Research Profiles

My contributions to science and the impact this has had on society

I investigate unconventional animals and unique model systems. My post doctoral work was with a monkey living in eceptionally large social groups and my current project is perhaps the only one in the world that can assess  the consequences of dedicated paternal care, as fewer than 5% of mammalian fathers exhibit this behaviour. In this way, I have often pushed the boundaries of our understanding of the mammalian mind. My research team was the first to demonstrate tactical deception in a wild primate, while more recently I discovered rare evidence of innovative parenting in carnivores. My studies have attracted attention outside the scientific world, featuring in newspapers, international weblogs and podcasts. My "clever" bat-eared foxes will also appear on a BBC series  later this year. I consider it important to reach beyond academia, and thereby help change the public face of science. 

I am a member of the South African Academy of Science.