Linda Vigilant is an American primatologist and geneticist. Vigilant works at the Department of Primate Behavior and Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, Germany.

Join Group About Linda Vigilant
1.725 Members
764 Posts


Vigilant graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey with a B. S. +more in chemical biology in 1986. She earned her PhD at University of California, Berkeley in California in genetics from 1986 to 1990.

Research and career

She began her career by working on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA in human populations at MPI-EVA. Her work uses genetic analyses to address questions on the evolution of humans and other primates, particularly the great apes. +more Her research focus is on the level of individual social groups, such as examination of the effects of kinship on the social behaviour of pairs of individuals. Other studies use genotyping of entire primate populations to infer dispersal behavior and group social dynamics. Vigilant's recent research interests are using large-scale sequencing approaches for understanding the long-term histories of primate populations and seeing the effects of high variance in male reproductive success on patterns of genomic variation.

Publication positions

International Journal of Primatology, editorial board member 2003-present. *American Journal of Physical Anthropology, associate editor 2006-2010. +more *Primates, associate editor 2007-present.

Personal life

Vigilant has been married twice, first to a fellow geneticist, and subsequently to Svante Pääbo since 2008. She has two sons with her first husband and one son and a daughter with her second.

Living people