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Crystal Riley Koenig - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Crystal Riley Koenig

Lecturer of Master of Interdisciplinary Studies and Assistant Professor of Anthropology | Southern Utah University


Assistant Professor of Anthropology, History, & Sociology; Specializing in biological anthropology and primatology


Dr. Crystal Koenig is an assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of History, Sociology, and Anthropology at Southern Utah University. Dr. Koenig is a biological anthropologist and enjoys teaching biological anthropology, primatology, and forensic anthropology.

Dr. Koenig’s research has focused on the portrayal of primates in nature documentaries, the use of primate documentaries in teaching, and the overlap of humans and monkeys in Singapore. She has 13 peer-reviewed publications, eight other scholarly publications, and many conference presentations.

Dr. Koenig earned her PhD and MA in biological anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in social psychology from New Mexico State University. She has a BA in psychology and religious studies from The College of Wooster.






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Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (9)

Forensic Anthropology

Wildlife Ecology

Behavioral Ecology

Wildlife Documentaries

Biological Anthropology


Social Psychology

Wildlife Conservation

Physical Anthropology

Education (4)

Washington University in St. Louis: Ph.D., Biological Anthropology 2018

Washington University in St. Louis: M.A., Biological Anthropology 2014

New Mexico State University: M.A., Social Psychology 2009

The College of Wooster: B.A., Psychology; Religious Studies 2007

Accomplishments (2)

Influencer Award (2019, 2020) (professional)

Southern Utah University

Early Career Award (professional)

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, SUU, 2022

Media Appearances (2)

Master's of Interdisciplinary Studies Welcomes Professor Crystal Koenig

SUU University News  online


Southern Utah University's Master's of Interdisciplinary Studies program would like to welcome Crystal Koenig to the family!

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Only a third of primates have appeared in wildlife documentaries

Elsevier  online

Large primates like chimpanzees and baboons dominate wildlife documentaries, meaning other species facing conservation issues are less known by the public.

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Articles (10)

Portrayals of wild primates in documentary films: reason for concern?


Riley Koenig, C. M., Koenig, B.L., & Sanz, C. M.


Documentaries are the primary means by which many people observe the behavior of wild primates. By influencing layperson perceptions of wild primates, documentaries could impact viewer conservation-related beliefs and behaviors and, therefore, the well-being of wild primates.

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Primate Documentaries: A Critical Analysis of Their History

Society & Animals

Riley Koenig, C. M., & Koenig, B. L.

We provide an analysis of the history of primate documentaries, with a focus on how and why misrepresentation happens. We summarize why wildlife documentaries are important, and then we explain concerns over documentaries’ mischaracterization of nonhuman animals.

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Portrayals of wild primates in documentary films: reason for concern?


Riley Koenig, C. M., Koenig, B.L., & Sanz, C. M.

Documentaries are the primary means by which many people observe the behavior of wild primates. By influencing layperson perceptions of wild primates, documentaries could impact viewer conservation-related beliefs and behaviors and, therefore, the well-being of wild primates. To investigate such portrayals, we examined documentaries depicting the four species that were most represented in documentaries: rhesus macaque, chimpanzee, ring-tailed lemur, and mountain gorilla.

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Overrepresentation of flagship species in primate documentaries and opportunities for promoting biodiversity

Biological Conservation

Crystal Riley Koenig, Bryan Koenig, and Crickette Sanz

Documentary films are intended to engage a broad audience and can be effective outreach tools for raising awareness of global biodiversity and conservation issues. We screened 210 films and recorded the duration that each primate species was on screen to evaluate their representation in documentaries and to assess factors potentially driving biases within these depictions.

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Teaching Anthropology with Primate Documentaries: Investigating Instructors’ Use of Films and Introducing the Primate Films Database: Primate Documentaries

American Anthropologist

Crystal Riley Koenig, Bryan Koenig, Crickette Marie Sanz

Nonhuman primate appearance and behavior can be better understood through documentary footage than through verbal explanation alone. Many college instructors show primate documentary films in their courses, but little research has evaluated primate documentaries as teaching tools. We sought to determine the prevalence of documentary use in teaching and which characteristics of documentaries affect their use.

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Results of a nationwide census of the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) population of Singapore

The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

Crystal Riley Koenig, Srikantan L Jayasri, Michael D Gumert

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are known for their ability to thrive in a wide variety of habitats, including urban areas. Singapore is an island city-state that has experienced rapid deforestation and urbanisation over the past several decades. These processes have led to the loss of most of Singapore's large mammalian species, but long-tailed macaques still live on the island.

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The impact of population dynamics and foreign labour policy on dependency: the case of Singapore

Journal of Population Research

John P Ansah, Crystal Riley Koenig, James P Thompson, David B Matchar

Understanding population dynamics is crucial to understanding current and future health care needs and designing systems to meet those needs. In this paper, we provide a methodological approach to investigate population dynamics in a system dynamics model configurable to initialise in dynamic equilibrium or disequilibrium.

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Observation of a fatal dog attack on a juvenile long-tailed macaque in a human-modified environment in Singapore

Nature in Singapore

Riley, C. M., Koenig, B. L., & Gumert, M. D.

Direct observations of predation on primates are rare, in part because the presence of observers deters potential predators. We observed domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) kill and take away a juvenile long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), presumably for consumption, in Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

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How Living Near Humans Affects Singapore’s Urban Macaques


Riley, C. M., DuVall-Lash, A. S., Jayasri, S. L., Koenig, B. L., Klegarth, A. R., & Gumert, M. D.

Long-tailed macaques commonly live near human settlements in Southeast Asia and Singapore is one example of such an interface. In 2011 and 2012, we conducted a census for Singapore’s National Parks Board (NParks), during which we collected behavioral, demographic, and ranging data. We used these data to examine how the presence of humans and access to human food related to changes in the macaques’ time budget, ranging behavior, and group size.

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To what reference point do people calibrate cost-free, third-party punishment?

Personality and Individual Differences

Koenig, B. L., & Riley, C. M.

To what reference point(s) do third parties calibrate punishments to be inflicted upon unknown wrongdoers? We introduce a novel method that allows direct comparison of preferred punishments (and compensations) to victim loss and perpetrator gain.

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Courses (4)

INDS 6090 - Issues in Global Health

This course provides an introduction to the environmental, social, and economic factors of global health problems (and solutions). We will explore the Sustainable Development Goals using a case study approach. As a survey course in global health, this class will introduce important methodologies in community-based global health and the ethical implications of global health issues.

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ANTH 4700 - Special Topics in Anthropology

Occasionally, anthropology faculty will offer courses on a special area of interest or a particularly timely topic under this course number. The class schedule and handouts in the department will provide further information on each Special Topic course.

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ANTH 2220 - Introduction to Forensic Anthropology

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the discipline of forensic anthropology. Forensic anthropology employs methods from biological anthropology, archaeology, and other disciplines to locate, identify, and interpret human remains. While these methods are useful in a variety of contexts, forensic anthropologists often work closely with law enforcement. This course will cover topics such as human decomposition processes, locating and recovering skeletal remains, skeletal anatomy, and interpretation of skeletal remains (e.g. age-sex estimation, height estimation, recognition of disease indicators in the skeleton).

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ANTH 1020 - Biological Anthropology

This course explores basic evolutionary theory and human genetics from an anthropological perspective. It traces human evolution through time; compares humans to their closest living relatives, non-human primates; and examines the significance of modern human biological variations and adaptations.

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