Remembrance of Dian Fossey

Fossey Google Doodle

“Among all researchers who have worked in the African field, I consider myself one of the most fortunate because of the privilege of having been able to study the mountain gorilla. I deeply hope that I have done justice to the memories and observations accumulated over my years of research on what I consider to be the greatest of the great apes.” –Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist

As many of you have seen from the Google doodle, Dian Fossey’s birthday is today (she would have been 82 if she were still alive). Her work is a huge inspiration to aspiring primatologists, and she began a long-turn study that still studies and protects gorillas.  Despite the small populations of mountain gorillas, they are the best-studied gorillas in the wild.

I highly recommend checking out The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Birthday Remembrance. Also, please remember the many other people have given their lives to protecting gorillas. Last week, on the DR Congo side of the Virungas, ranger Mbera Bagabo was killed, and two more rangers were injured by a militia group. The ranger jobs are extremely dangerous; approximately 140 ranges have been killed since 1996.

I hope you are all looking forward to reading Gorillas in the Mists.


About Dr. Michelle A. Rodrigues

I am a primatologist/biological anthropologist who studies comparative social behavior and endocrinology. My dissertation research focused on stress and friendship in female spider monkeys. Most of my graduate research was conducted at El Zota Biological Field Station, with a little help from the spider monkeys at Brookfield Zoo, IL. I have also studied howler monkeys, rhesus monkeys, bonobos, and chimpanzees, as well as participated in studies on gorillas, pachyderms, and big cats. Currently, I am a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois, where I am examining how female friendship and social support mediate stressors experienced by teenager girls and female scientists. I've taught courses in introductory biological anthropology, world prehistory, and co-instructed a field course in primate behavior and conservation at El Zota. I love teaching about primates and evolution!
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