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Famous Primatologists

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Essay title: Famous Primatologists

The closest living relative to humans are primates. The study of primates and their behaviors is primatology. Primatology provides a better understanding of the many aspects of the research, preservation and conservation of primates. The field of primatology has been fortunate to have several outstanding scientists, among them Jane Goodall, the late Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas. Each of them has accomplished considerable works documenting and interpreting the lives of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

Jane Goodall was born in London, England in 1934. From a very young age Jane had a very strong love for animals. She developed the dream to live in Africa after reading books about Tarzan and the story Dr. Dolittle. After graduating high school she became a secretary for a University and then worked for a filmmaker. In 1956 she was invited to visit Kenya by a family friend. During her time in Kenya she was hired as Dr. Louis Leakey’s assistant at the Coryndon Museum. Dr. Leakey noticed Jane’s exceptional interest in animals and that she was resourceful and patient. He decided that she was the person that he would send to study Gombe chimpanzees in Tanzania which is in East Africa. In 1960 Jane began her study and recorded all of her observations. National Geographic took notice and funded her study and sent a filmmaker to document her work. In order to be considered a serious scientist Jane earned her Ph.D. in Ethology from Cambridge University, which is the study of animal behavior in 1965 and opened the Gombe Stream Research Centre. The Centre is a place for graduate students and primatologists to study and learn about and even assist with research of the chimpanzees. Among many great accomplishments, Jane founded the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation in 1977, founded Roots and Shoots in 1991, founded TACARE in 1994 and was appointed as the United Nations Messenger of Peace on April 16, 2002. She has written an extensive list of publications and has been the subject of many television documentaries. To this day she spends the majority of her time lecturing with the hope that we can develop respect, compassion and love for all living things. With the hope that we can join hands around the world to save our planet and it’s wonders.

Dian Fossey was born in San Francisco, California in 1942. Dian had a strong interest in animals which led her to begin her college career in the veterinary field, which she later changed and earned her degree in occupational therapy from San Jose State College. In 1963 she made a trip to Africa and in Olduvai Gorge she met Dr. Louis Leakey who motivated her to want to study mountain gorillas. In 1966, with the support of Dr. Leakey and the National Geographic Society Dian began research on mountain gorillas in Kabara, Africa. Political unrest moved her to Rwanda where she set up camp Karisoke. In 1976 she obtained her Ph.D. at Cambridge University and accepted a position at Cornell. While there, she wrote Gorillas in the Mist, which brought her well-deserved fame and the needed awareness to the dwindling numbers of mountain gorillas. On a visit to her camp Karisoke in 1985 Dian was murdered in her cabin and her murder is still unsolved to this day. In 1988 the motion picture Gorillas in the Mist was released which portrayed the life and works if Dian Fossey. Currently, her Gorilla Fund is continuing to support the ongoing efforts with a team of researchers that are in Rwanda who are ever vigilant in their attempts to protect the gorilla population. It employs a staff of trackers and anti-poaching group at Karisoke, who monitor forest to locate, observe and protect three groups of mountain gorillas to ensure their safety. . Dian Fossey’s research

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