I am fascinated by the evolution of human’s extremely complex cognitive capacities, in particular those needed to produce and comprehend language. The main focus of my research has been on investigating the evolutionary origins of these capacities. For this, I use the comparative method, with a particular focus on the communication skills of primates. During several international collaborations with colleagues in the UK, Uganda, France and Switzerland I investigated both wild and captive primates’ use of (rudimentary forms of) semantics and syntax, the intentionality of their vocal and gestural communication, and how flexible their communication is in relation to several types of socio-ecological pressures. My current research revolves around determining the emotional content of vocal communication produced in different socio-ecological settings, and wild and captive primates’ capacities for vocal flexibility in relation to experienced predation pressures. As a teacher, I enjoy the privilege of teaching students not only about this fascinating topic, but also about many other topics related to the study of animal behaviour. ‘I cannot look at an animal anymore without many questions popping up in my head about the why and how of its behaviour!’ is a comment I often receive from students that I teach and supervise. And that is exactly the kind of enthusiasm and fascination I aim to convey and create with my teaching!