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Department of Biological Sciences
Science Building, Room 338
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7537
(509) 963-2731

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Dr. Lixing Sun, Professor

Dr. Lixing Sun Reviewing Notes As a Monkey Looks Up At Him

Distinguished Research Professor, Animal Behavior, Ecology, & Evolution
Biological Sciences Department 

Science Building, Room 236H

400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7537
(509) 963-2780
Twitter: @LSun5 (#TruthMatters)



  • 1996: Ph.D. Zoology/Animal Behavior/Ecology. State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) & Syracuse University.
  • 1989:  MS in Biology/Animal Ecology, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
  • 1986:  BS in Biology (with honor), East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


  • 2006-present: Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University
  • 2002-2006: Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University
  • 1996-2002 Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University
  • 1996: Postdoctoral Fellow – Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin
  • 1991: Visiting Scientist – Forest Research Institute, Ministry of Forestry, New Zealand
  • 1989-91: Lecturer – Department Biology and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University


  • Cultural Evolution Society (CES, active since 2015).
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, active since 1996).
  • The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE, active since 1996)
  • Animal Behavior Society of China (Co-founder, executive committee member, active)
  • American Association for Science Writers (active since 2021)
  • Animal Behavior Society (ABS, 1996-2016).
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) (2003-2005).
  • International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE, 1993-2000).
  • American Society of Mammalogists (ASM, 1995-2002).
  • International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)(1991-1998).


  • Distinguished Professor (research), Central Washington University (2020)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Scholar of the Year Award (2016)
  • Distinguished Oversea Chinese Scholar: Chinese Academy of the Sciences (2005)
  • Central Washington University Students’ Natural Helper (1998)
  • Wilford A. Dence Award (SUNY) (1995).
  • Alexander Wetland Research Award (SUNY) (1993)
  • Excellence in Teaching Award (Zhejiang University) (1990)



  • Sun, L. 2023. Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 288 pp.

  • Li, J., L. Sun, & P. M. Kappeler (eds). 2020. Behavioral Ecology of the Tibetan Macaque. Berlin: Springer, 299 pp.

  • Sun, L. 2013. The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 336 pp.

  • Müller-Schwarze, D. & L. Sun. 2003. The Beaver: Natural History of a Wetlands Engineer. Cornell University Press, 190 pp.

  • Seng, H., L. Sun & H. Wang. 1989. The World of Animals (Volume IV): Mammals. Shanghai Education Publications, Shanghai, 218 pp.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters (published):

  • Sun, L., J.-H. Li, C. Sueur, P. A. Garber, C. Fichtel, & P. M. Kappeler. 2019. Recent developments in primatology and their relevance to the study of Tibetan macaques. In J.-H. Li, L. Sun, & P. M. Kappeler (eds), Behavioral Ecology of the Tibetan Macaque, Springer, Berlin, pp. 3-13.

  • Sun, L., D.-P. Xia, & J.-H. Li. 2019. Size matters in primate societies: How social mobility relates to social stability in Tibetan and Japanese macaques. In J.-H. Li, L. Sun, & P. M. Kappeler (eds), Behavioral Ecology of the Tibetan Macaque, Springer, Berlin, pp. 47-59.

  • Wang, X. C. Fichtel, L. Sun, & J.-H. Li. 2019.  Social Relationships impact collective decision-making in Tibetan macaques. In J.-H. Li, L. Sun, & P. M. Kappeler (eds), Behavioral Ecology of the Tibetan Macaque, Springer, Berlin, pp. 61-77.

  • Liu, D., H. Yuan, Z. Wang, R. Wei, G. Zhang, & L. Sun. 2012. Do Urinary Chemosignals Code for Sex, Age, and Season in the Giant Panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca? In M. L. East, & M. Dehnhard (eds), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates XII, Springer, New York, pp. 207-222.

  • Sun, L., W. A. Williams & C. Avalos. 2005 Human sweaty smell does not affect the menstrual cycle. In R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, & D. Müller-Schwarze (eds), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates X. Springer, New York, pp. 308-312.

  • Peterson, A. M., Sun, L. & F. Rosell. 2005 Species and subspecies recognition in the North American beaver. In R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, & D. Müller-Schwarze (eds), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates X. Springer, New York, pp. 56-63.

  • Asay, M. J., P. Harrowitz & L. Sun. 2005 Chemical communication and mate recognition in tailed frogs, Ascaphus truei. In R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, & D. Müller-Schwarze (eds), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates X. Springer, New York, pp. 24-31.

  • Sun, L. 2003. Mating in beavers: species-specific character or individualistic reproductive strategy. In U. H. Reichard & C. Boesch (eds.), Monogamy: Partnerships in Birds, Humans and Other Mammals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 138-146.

  • Sun, L. & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1999 Chemical signaling in the beaver: one species, two glands and many functions. In R. E. Johnston & D. Müller-Schwarze (eds), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates VIII. Plenum, New York, pp. 281-288.

Peer Reviewed Original Research Articles:

  • Xia, D., R. Kyes, X. Wang, B. Sun, L. Sun, & J. Li. 2019. Grooming networks reveal intra‑ and intersexual social relationships in Macaca thibetana. Primates 60: 223-232.

  • Rowe, A., L. Sun, L. K. Sheeran, R. S. Wagner, J.-H. Li, D. Xia, & D. A. Uhey. 2018. Collective decision making in Tibetan macaques of Mt. Huangshan, China: How followers affect the rules and efficiency of group movement. Animal Behaviour 146: 51-61.

  • Fratellone, G. P. J.-H. Li, L. K. Sheeran, R. S. Wagner, X. Wang, & L. Sun. 2018. Social connectivity among female Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) increases the speed of collective movements. Primates 60: 183-189.

  • Wright, K. R., J. A. Mayhew, L K. Sheeran, J. A. Funkhouser, R. S. Wagner, L. Sun, & J.-H. Li. 2017. Playing it cool: Characterizing social play, bout termination, and candidate play signals of juvenile and infant Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). Zoological Research 39: 1-13.

  • Sun, L. D.-P. Xia, S. Sun, L. K. Sheeran, & J.-H. Li. 2017. The prospect of rising in rank is key to long-term stability in Tibetan macaque society. Scientific Reports 7: Article No. 7083.

  • Wang, X., L. Sun, L. K. Sheeran, B. H. Sun, Q. X. Zhang, D. Zhang, D. P. Xia, & J. H. Li. 2016. Social rank versus affiliation: Which is more closely related to leadership of group movements in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana)? American Journal of Primatology 78: 816-824.

  • Wang, X.,* L. Sun*, J. Li, D. Xia, B. Sun, & D. Zhang. 2015. Collective movement in the Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana): Early joiners write the rule of the game. PLoS ONE 10 (5): 16-24, e0127459. (*indicates co-first author)

  • Usui, R., L. K. Sheeran, J. Li, L. Sun, X. Wang, A. P. Pritchard, & R. S. Wagner. 2014. Park rangers' behaviors and their effects on tourists and Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Animals 4(3): 546-561.

  • Xia, D., J. Li, M. D. Matheson, L. Sun, B. Sun, and Y Zhu. 2012. First occurrence of twins in provisioned free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Huangshan, China. Primates 53: 1-5.

  • Xia, D., J. Li, P. A. Garber, L. Sun, Y. Zhu, & B. Sun. 2012. Grooming reciprocity in female Tibetan macaques Macaca thibetana. American Journal of Primatology 74:569-579.

  • Sun, L. 2010. Blood is not always thicker than water: The limited effect of kin selection on human kinship in the traditional Chinese family. Current Zoology 56: 182-189.

  • Liu, Y. D. Wang, L. Sun, J. Zhang, & J. Zhang. 2010. Flank gland-secreted putative chemosignals pertaining to photoperiod, endocrine states, and sociosexual behavior in golden hamsters. Current Zoology 56: 800-812.

  • Zhang, J., Sun, L. & Y. Zhang. 2010. Foxn1 gene knockout suppresses sexual attractiveness and pheromonal components of male urine in inbred mice. Chemical Senses 35: 47-56.

  • Zhang J.X., L. Sun, J.H. Zhang, & Z.Y. Feng. 2008. Sex- and gonad-affecting scent compounds and 3 male pheromones in the rat. Chemical Senses 33: 611-621.

  • Zhang, J., D. Liu, L. Sun, R. Wei, G. Zhang, H. Wu, H. Zhang, & C. Zhao. 2008. Potential chemosignals in the anogenital gland secretion of giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, associated with sex and individual identity. Journal of Chemical Ecology 34: 398-407.

  • Zhang, J. X., Y. J. Liu, J. H. Zhang, & L..Sun. 2008. Dual role of preputial gland secretion and its major components in sex recognition of mice. Physiology and Behavior 95: 388-394.

  • Zhang, J., L. Sun, K. E. Bruce, & M. V. Novotny. 2008. Chronic exposure of cat odor enhances aggression, urinary attractiveness and sex pheromones of mice. Journal of Ethology 26: 278-286.

  • Liu, D., R. Wei, G. Zhang, H. Yuan, Z. Wang, L. Sun, J. Zhang & H. Zhang 2008. Male panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) urine contains kinship information. Chinese Science Bulletin 53: 2793-2800.

  • Zhang, J., X. Rao, L. Sun, D. Wang, D. Liu, & C. Zhao. 2008. Cohabitation impaired physiology, fitness and sex-related chemosignals in golden hamsters. Physiology and Behavior 93: 1071-1077.

  • Zhang, J., L. Sun, & M. Novotny. 2007. Mice respond differently to urine and its major volatile constituents from male and female ferrets. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33: 603-612.

  • Zhang J.X., Rao, X. P., Sun, L., Zhao, C. and Qin, X. 2007. Putative chemical signals about sex, individuality and genetic background in the preputial gland and urine of the house mouse (Mus musculus). Chemical Senses,32: 293-303.

  • Liu, D., H. Yuan, H. Tian, R. Wei, G. Zhang, L. Sun, L. Wang, & R. Sun. 2006. Do anogenital gland secretions of giant panda code for their sexual ability? Chinese Science Bulletin 51: 1986-1995.

  • Liu, J., Y. Chen, L. Guo, B. Gu, H. Liu, A. Hou, X. Liu, L. Sun, & D. Liu. 2006. Stereotypic behavior and fecal cortisol level in captive giant pandas in relation to environmental enrichment. Zoo Biology 25: 445-459.

  • Zhang, J., D. Shi, & L. Sun. The effect of male competition on female choice in Brandt’s vole, Lasiopodomys brandti. Folia Zoologica 55: 123-129.

  • Buchan, A., L. Sun & R. S. Wagner. 2005. Using alpha numeric fluorescent tags for easy individual identification of amphibians. Herpetological Review 36: 43-44.

  • Zhang, J., Z. Zhang, & L. Sun. 2004 Influence of increasing mating partners on mating behavior and reproduction in Brandt’s voles (Microtus brandti). Folia Zoologica 53: 357-365.

  • Sun, L., & D. Müller-Schwarze. 2004. Heritability of kinship pheromone in the beaver: how is information about relatedness coded? Acta Zoologica Sinica 50: 504-510.

  • Stegen, J. C., C. M. Gienger, & L. Sun. 2004. The control of color change in the Pacific tree frog Hyla regilla (Baird and Girard, 1852). Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 889-896.

  • Zhang, J., Z. Zhang, & L. Sun. 2004. Influence of male surgical sterilization on the copulatory behavior and reproduction of Brandt's vole. Acta Theriologica Sinica 24: 242-247.

  • Yuan, H. D. Liu, L. Sun, R. Wei, G. Zhang, & R. Sun. 2004. Anogenital gland secretions code for sex and age in the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 1596 -1604.

  • Zhang, J., L. Sun, Z. Zhang, Z. Wang, H. Gao, C. Cao, & Z. Yang. 2003. Effects of weasel odor on behavior and physiology of two hamster species. Physiology and Behavior 79: 549-552.

  • Zhang, J., L. Sun, Z. Zhang, Z. Wang, H. Gao, C. Cao, & Z. Yang. 2003. Possible coding for recognition of sexes, individuals and species in anal gland volatiles of Mustela eversmanni and M. sibirica. Chemical Senses 28: 381-388.

  • Zhang, J., L. Sun, Z. Zhange, Z. Wang, Y. Chen, & R. Wang. 2002. Volatile compounds from Siberian weasels and polecats. Journal of Chemical Ecology 28:1287-97.
  • Sun, L. 2002. Anti-predation does not fully explain grouping in the water deer (Hydropotes inermis). Acta Zoologica Sinica 48: 201-210.
  • Sun, L., D. Müller-Schwarze & B. A. Schulte. (2000) Dispersal pattern and effective population size of the beaver. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 78: 393-398.
  • Sun, L. M. J. Ryan, W. Wilczynski, A. S. Rand. (2000). Sensory biases in short and long distance communication in túngara (Physalaemus pustulosus) and cricket (Acris crepitans) frogs. Behavioral Ecology. 11: 102-109.

  • Rosell, F. & L. Sun. 1999. Using the anal gland secretion to identify beaver species. Journal of Wildlife Biology. 5: 119-123.

  • Sun, L. & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1999. Anal gland secretion codes for relatedness in the beaver, Castor canadensis. Ethology 104: 917-927.

  • Sun, L. & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1999. Anal gland secretion codes for family membership in the beaver. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 44: 199-208.

  • Sun, L., & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1998. Beaver response to recurrent alien scents: scent fence or scent match? Animal Behaviour 55: 1529-1536.

  • Sun, L. & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1997. Sibling recognition in the beaver: a field test for phenotype-matching. Animal Behaviour 54: 493-502.

  • Sun, L. & D. Müller-Schwarze. 1996. Resampling statistical methods in biology: a case study of beaver dispersal pattern. American Journal of Mathematical and Management Sciences 16: 463-502.

  • Sun, L., & B. Xiao. 1995. The effect of female distribution on male territoriality in water deer. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 60: 33-40.

  • Sun, L., & N. Dai. 1995. Social association and mating system in the water deer. Mammalia 59:171-178.

  • Schulte, B. A., D. Müller-Schwarze, & L. Sun. 1995. Using anal gland secretion to determine sex in beaver. Journal of Wildlife Management 59: 614-618.

  • Sun, L., B. Xiao, & N. Dai. 1994. Marking behaviour in the male Chinese water deer. Acta Theriologica 39: 177-184.

  • Müller-Schwarze, D., B. A. Schulte, L. Sun, A. Müller-Schwarze, & C. Müller-Schwarze. 1994. Red maple (Acer rubrum) inhibits feeding by beaver (Castor canadensis). Journal of Chemical Ecology 20: 2021-2034.

  • Sun, L. &. H. Sheng. 1990. The Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) at Poyang Lake. Journal of East China Normal University: Mammalogy Supplement 30-36.

  • Sun, L., & H. Sheng. 1986. Comparative behavioral study of the goral, Nemorhaedus goral, and red goral, N. bailey. Chinese Journal of Zoology 30: 26-36.

Book Reviews:

  • Sun, L. 2017. Paring off: Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans. Science, 357: 1103.

  • Sun, L. 2011. Passing Pains: Revenge, Retaliation, and Redirected Aggression in a New Light. Evolutionary Psychology, 9: 449-450.  

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