Senate Faculty

Vicky M. Oelze
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Anthropology Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 1, room 308
    • PEMA lab, SS1 room 431
  • Office Hours Spring 2023: Tuesdays 10-11:30am (by appointment)
  • Mail Stop Social Sciences 1 Faculty Services
  • Courses ANTH 106- Primate Behavior & Ecology, ANTH 107C - Chimpanzee Behavior & Culture (Lab), ANTH 103B - Forensic Anthropology & Bioarchaeology, ANTH 110F - Evolution of Human Diet, ANTH 294R - Advanced readings in BioAnthropology, ANTH 190X - Stable Isotope Ecology

Summary of Expertise

stable isotope ecology (carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, strontium, oxygen), isotopes, isoscapes and mobilit, arboreal sampling and canpy research, camera trap data processing

Research Interests

  • mobility and dietary adaptation in archaeological human populations, African strontium isoscapes, isotopic investigation of enslaved African life histories
  • dietary ecology of extant African great apes; great ape breastfeeding and waning, chimpanzee tool use and termite-predation defense strategies, long term data collection via camera traps (Chimp Video Coding Team)

Selected Publications


In press

Oelze V.M., O’Neal I., Wittig R.W., Kupczik K., Schulz-Kornas E., Hohmann G. (accepted manuscript): A skew in poo: Biases in primate fecal isotope analysis and recommendations for standardized sample preparation. American Journal of Primatology


Nicklisch N., Oelze V.M., Schierz O., Meller H., Alt K.W. (2022): A healthier smile in the past? Dental health and diet in Early Neolithic farmer communities from Central Germany. Nutrients 14(9), 1831;

D’Ammando G., Caro, T., Oelze V.M., Phillips S., Sime P., Stewart F.A., Piel A.K. (2022): Ecological drivers of habitat use by small mammals in a miombo ecosystem. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10. DOI=10.3389/fevo.2022.773568    

Washburn, E., Ibarra B., Titelbaum A.R., Fehren-Schmitz L., Nesbitt J., Oelze V.M. (in review): A multi-isotope approach reconstructing human residential mobility and diet during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000-1450) in highland Ancash, Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science – Reports. 41, 103291


Lowry, B.E., Wittig, R.M., Pittermann J., Oelze, V.M. (2021): Stratigraphy of stable isotope ratios and leaf structure within a tropical rainforest canopy in West Africa: Implications for primate feeding and isotope ecology. Scientific Reports 11, 14222. [OA]

Washburn E., Nesbitt J., Ibarra B, Fehren-Schmitz L., Oelze V.M. (2021): A strontium isoscape for the Callejón de Conchucos region of highland Peru and its application to Aandean archaeology. PLoS ONE 16(3): e0248209 [OA].


Phillips S., Scheffrahn R.H, Piel A., Stewart S., Agbor A., Brazzola G., Tickle A., Sommer V. P., Dieguez, Wessling E.G., Arandjelovic M., Kühl H.S., Boesch C., Oelze V.M. (2021). Limited evidence of C4 plant consumption in mound building Macrotermes termites from savanna woodland chimpanzee sites. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0244685 [OA].


Oelze V.M., Percher A.P., Nsi Akoué G., El Ksabi N., Willaume E., Charpentier M.J.E. (2020). Seasonality and interindividual variation in mandrill feeding ecology revealed by stable isotope analysis of hair and blood. American Journal of Primatology 82, e23206.                    


Oelze, V.M., Wittig, R.M., Lemoine, S., Kühl, H.S., Boesch, C. (2020). How isotopic signatures relate to meat consumption in wild chimpanzees: A critical reference study from Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. Journal of Human Evolution, 146: 102817.


Washburn E., Tomasto-Cagigao E., Nesbitt J., Burger R., Oelze V.M., Lars Fehren-Schmitz L. (2020). Maize and Dietary Change in Early Peruvian Civilization: Isotopic Evidence from the Late Preceramic Period/Initial Period Site of La Galgada, Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 31, 102309.


Wessling E.G., Oelze V.M., Eshuis H., Pruetz J.D., Kühl H.S. (2019). Stable isotope variation in savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) indicate avoidance of energetic challenges through dietary compensation at the limits of the range. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Vol 168 (4), 665-675.


van Casteren A., Oelze V.M., Angedakin S., Kalan A.K., Kambi M., Boesch C., Kuehl H.S., Langergraber K.E., Piel A.K., Stewart F.A., Kupczik K. (2018). Food mechanical properties and isotopic signatures in forest versus savannah dwelling eastern chimpanzees. Communications Biology 1, #109.


Muenster A., Knipper C., Oelze V.M., Nicklisch N., Stecher M., Schlenker B., Ganslmeier R., Fragata M., Friederich S., Dresely V., Hubensack V., Brandt G., Doehle J., Vach W., Schwarz R., Metzner-Nebelsick C., Meller H., Alt K.W. (2018): 4000 years of human dietary evolution in Central Germany, from the first farmers to the first elites. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0194862 [OA].


Scheffrahn R.H., Bourguignon T., Bordereau C., Hernandez-Aguilar R.A., Oelze V.M., Dieguez P., Sobotnik J., Pascual-Garrido A. (2017). White-gutted soldiers: simplification of the digestive tube for a non-particulate diet in higher Old World termites (Isoptera: Termitidae). Insectes Sociaux 64, 525–533.


Oelze V.M., Fahy G.E., Hohmann G., Robbins M.M., Leinert V., Lee K., Eshuis H., Seiler N., Wessling E.G., Head J.S., Boesch C., Kühl H.S. (2016). Comparative isotope ecology of African great apes. Journal of Human Evolution, 101, 1-16.


Crowley B., Reitsema L., Oelze V.M., & Sponheimer M. (2016). Advances in primate stable isotope ecology-achievements and future prospects. American Journal of Primatology, 78(10), 995-1003.


Mundry R., Oelze V. M. (2016). Who is who matters - the effects of pseudoreplication in stable isotope analysis. American Journal of Primatology, 78(10), 1017-1030.


Oelze V.M. (2016). Reconstructing temporal variation in great ape and other primate diets: A methodological framework for isotope analyses in hair. American Journal of Primatology, 78(10), 1004-1016


Oelze V.M., Douglas P.H., Stephens C.R., Behringer V., Surbeck M., Richards M.P., Fruth B., Hohmann G. (2016). The steady state great ape? Long term isotopic records reveal the effects of season, social rank and reproductive status on bonobo feeding behaviour. PLoS ONE, 11(9): e0162091 [OA].


Oelze V.M., Head J.S., Robbins M.M., Richards M.P., Boesch C. (2014). Niche differentiation and dietary seasonality among sympatric gorillas and chimpanzees in Loango National Park (Gabon) revealed by stable isotope analysis. Journal of Human Evolution, 66(1), 95-106.


Nehlich O., Oelze V.M., Jay M., Conrad M., Stäuble H., Teegan W.-R., Richards M.P. (2014). Sulphur isotope ratios of multi-period archaeological skeletal remains from central Germany: A dietary and mobility study. Anthropologie: international journal of the science of man, 52(1), 15-33.


Oelze V.M., Nehlich O., Richards M.P. (2012). "There's no place like home" - No isotopic evidence for mobility at the Early Bronze Age cemetery of Singen, Germany. Archaeometry, 54(4), 752-778.


Oelze V.M., Koch J.K., Kupke K., Nehlich O., Zäuner S., Wahl J., Weise S.M., Rieckhoff S., Richards M.P. (2012). Multi-isotopic analysis reveals individual mobility and diet at the Early Iron Age Monumental Tumulus of Magdalenenberg, Germany. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 148(3), 406-421.


Deschner T., Fuller B.T., Oelze V.M., Boesch C., Hublin J.-J., Mundry R., Richards M.P., Ortmann S., Hohmann G. (2012). Identification of energy consumption and nutritional stress by isotopic and elemental analysis of urine in bonobos (Pan paniscus). Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 26(1), 69-77.


Oelze V.M., Siebert A., Nicklisch N., Meller H., Dresely V., Alt K.W. (2011). Early Neolithic diet and animal husbandry: stable isotope evidence from three Linearbandkeramik (LBK) sites in Central Germany. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(2), 270-279.


Oelze V.M., Fuller B.T., Richards M.P., Fruth B., Surbeck M., Hublin J.-J., Hohmann G. (2011). Exploring the contribution and significance of animal protein in the diet of bonobos by stable isotope ratio analysis of hair. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(24), 9792-9797 [OA].


Rosendahl W., Oelze V., Alt K.W., Wirth K. (2009). Über eine bandkeramische Kinderbestattung aus Edingen, Rhein-Neckar-Kreis. Mannheimer Geschichtsblätter 18/2009: 119-121.


Oelze V. (2008). Die Toten aus der keltischen Nekropole von Hattersheim am Main. Hessen-Archäologie 2007: 74-76


Rosendahl W., Wirth K., Oelze V., Alt K.W. (2006). Einsame Tote- ein neolithischer Skelettfund aus Mannheim-Seckenheim. Archäologische Ausgrabungen in Baden-Württemberg 2005: 31-32.