CSHO logo



The Center
Human Evolution Explorer
News & Links

Follow CSHO on Twitter

Next Event:

Ariane Burke
Thursday, February 6

See details and other events

Anthropology Department
New York University
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003

Google Maps | NYU Campus Map

Will Allen


Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Primate Reproductive Strategies Laboratory
Department of Anthropology, New York University


B.Sc. 2005, University of Bristol
M.Res. 2008, University of Bristol
Ph.D. 2012, University of Bristol






Will Allen personal website
Primate Reproductive Strategies

Research Focus:

The main focus of my present research is on understanding the design of primate visual signals and what role visual signalling has had in promoting and maintaining primate species.

I focus the guenons (tribe: cercopithecini) as a model group because they have extraordinarily diverse facial markings which evolved in a rapid evolutionary radiation. The guenons are a group of ca. 30 species which live in the forests of Africa. As they frequently form polyspecific associations, the putative function of their face markings is for maintenance of reproductive isolation. This begs the obvious question – are the complex facial patterns and the explosive speciation seen in this genus connected?

I’m taking a comparative approach to investigating signalling and signal design in this group. I’ve recently finished collecting image data on guenons which will allow me to understand the evolution of the shape and color of the multiple signal components of guenons’ face patterns in detail.

The Guenons of Southern Cameroon


  • Allen, W.L., Scott-Samuel, N.E., Baddeley, R.J. & Cuthill, I.C. (in press) The evolution and function of pattern diversity on snakes. Behavioral Ecology.
  • Allen, W.L. & Higham J.P. 2013. Analyzing visual signals as visual scenes. American Journal of Primatology 75: 664-682.
  • Allen, W.L., Baddeley, R.J. Cuthill, I.C. & Scott-Samuel, N.E. 2012. A quantitative test of the predicted relationship between countershading and lighting environment. The American Naturalist 180: 762-776.
  • Allen, W.L., Cuthill, I.C., Scott-Samuel, N.E. & Baddeley, R.J. 2011. Why the leopard got its spots: relating pattern development to ecology in felids. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 1373-1380.