What is it with female primatologists and their chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas? The sheer number of women in this field is startling, as are the dangers they risk pursuing their beloved subjects. Fiercely dedicated and devoted, they go to remarkable lengths to conduct their studies and to protect their great apes from poachers, revolutions, ...
What is it with female primatologists and their chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas? The sheer number of women in this field is startling, as are the dangers they risk pursuing their beloved subjects. Fiercely dedicated and devoted, they go to remarkable lengths to conduct their studies and to protect their great apes from poachers, revolutions, and human contamination. It is an impressive array of scientists: Jane Goodall, of course, and Dian Fossey (who was actually killed in the field), and less celebrated women, like Mary Leakey, Shirley McGreal, Birute Galdikas, and others, who also braved everything from civil war to enraged simians with fangs bared. Their intriguing stories are a monument to forty years of dauntless scientific endeavor. But their ineffable longing for the company of their primordial cousins, their intense identification with these primates, is an intriguing theme that runs through their professional lives at a depth that can only be described at times as intimate and mysterious.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-05-21 Anyone who's interested in the human sex drive, mothering or criminality will find provocative material in this study of our evolutionary cousins and the women who've researched them. From "trimates" Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birut? Galdikas to the next generation of female field-workers they inspired, women have dominated primatology thanks to their patience, dedication and perhaps, as Louis Leakey suggested, some predisposition to communication with nonverbal creatures. These women have faced remarkable risks to study the creatures they loved (and often to protest the actions of poachers and other human intruders): Dian Fossey was killed on the job, and many others faced dangers ranging from civil war to angry apes. Jahme, an English primatologist and filmmaker, thoughtfully explores the work of female primatologists and its implications for the study of evolution, sex and gender. Her style is even more anecdotal and informal than Natalie Angier's, and equally political, especially in her analysis of the randy, female-bonded bonobo monkeys. She not only knows her science, but has a real knack for making it comprehensible to the uninitiated. Though Jahme occasionally digresses too far into the love lives of her field-workers, she always returns, to her readers' delight, to her apes ape sex, ape infanticide, ape intelligence and to the remarkable relationship between woman and beast. 45 illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Sara Fisher (U.K.). (July) Forecast: The jacket art depicting a pretty, sarong-draped woman eyeing a coy simian may raise some eyebrows, but as primate research clearly shows, sex appeal guarantees survival of the species. If this book is well displayed and receives the review attention it deserves, it should find a solid perch on the nature bookshelf. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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