James E. Loudon
(PhD, University of Colorado, 2009)
Office: 211 Flanagan Building
I am holistically trained anthropologist who focuses on the behavioral ecology of nonhuman primates. I have several research foci including stable isotope ecology, nutritional ecology, primate parasitology, and ethnoprimatology. My ethnoprimatological work focuses on the interconnections between humans and long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The population of macaques I study inhabit a sacred monkey forest that surrounds a Hindu temple complex that is approximately ~700 years old. As a result, the local people have been in close contact with the macaques at this site for several centuries. Today the Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a popular tourist destination allowing for unique studies that examine how the macaques at the site interact with tourists and the local Balinese people they live among. This work also examines how macaques adapt to the pressures of living in large, complex nonhuman primate societies while inhabiting urban areas. There are a number of research questions to pursue at the site and I am the co-director of the Balinese Ethnoprimatology Field Project. Each year I take undergraduate and graduate students to the field site and teach them how to collect primatological and ethnographic data. This field school is coordinated through ECU’s Study Abroad Office. For those interested in the field school click here for the Study Abroad Office:
For further information about the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the macaques at the site, and the program click the following links:
My colleagues and I are also studying the feeding behavior and nutritional ecology of Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to broaden our understanding of the dietary patterns of our early ancestors. Baboons are often referred to as ecological analogs for early hominins because they are large, omnivorous monkeys that inhabit the savannas that were once utilized by the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo. Understanding the stable isotope compositions and the mechanical and nutritional properties of the foods consumed by baboons can broaden our knowledge regarding their food choices and provide insights into the foraging decisions our early ancestors once made.
When I am not teaching or chasing nonhuman primates, I live a fast paced life in an anthropology household. My wife, Michaela Howells is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Her research examines how psychological and social stress affects the health of pregnant mothers and their infants in American Samoa. Michaela and I are the proud parents of a brilliant mini Australian Shepard Mix named Uli (to be clear, Uli is not an anthropologist) who is more affectionately known as “Pants France.” Uli likes to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, chase squirrels, and eat meat.