Animal Behavior



Novels of
John Irving

& Writing




Next of Kin, What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me about Who We Are
by Roger Fouts
Hardcover: 420 pages
Published: October 1997 by William Morrow & Company Inc
ISBN: 068814862X

Next of Kin: My Conversations With Chimpanzees
by Roger Fouts
Paperback: 432 pages
Published: September 1998 by Bard Books
ISBN: 0380728222

This is one of the best non fiction books I've read in a long time. I am of course an outsider to this field, but it inspired me to reflect on my relationship to the animals in my world and to consider how closely related we really are. I am especially interested in the sign language studies they have done in teaching these chimpanzees to speak American Sign Language. And that sign language has been used to help autistic children to communicate and regain speech. I have also recently seen a TV special in which pre-vocal children were taught some signs and were able to communicate using signs. If these studies are indeed validated, this seems to me to be an important breakthrough that merits further study.

I also found Roger's candid account of the unprofessional conduct in his field, and of laboratory abuses he discovered, to be refreshing. It is important for people to realize that this sort of behavior occurs in every profession. I have seen it firsthand in the forensic sciences, and so have no problem believing it exists in other fields.

The first thing I did when I finished this book, other than talk endlessly about Washoe to my husband, was to look up the following website:

The Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute.


A Primate's Memoir
by Robert M. Sapolsky

The Trouble with Testosterone and other essays on the biology of the human predicament
by Robert M. Sapolsky



Wildlife and Fisheries Forensics Discussion Group Listserv

sponsored by the National Ocean Service Marine Forensics Branch



Wild Birds Unlimited

This is where I recently bought my first birdfeeders for the backyard (on a visit to Bend, Oregon - where I grew up) - in the hopes of attracting some varying birds for myself and my indoor cats to watch. One of my cats, Queequeg, loves to watch birds and makes that high, shrill, "predator" sounding noise. I have yet to have any birds come visit (that I know of), but it has only been a week or so and I haven't given up hope yet. I'm not sure what type of birds I might attract here in the winter (Santa Cruz County, California). Wild Birds Unlimited has a wild "Bird FeederCam" which is fun to check in on once in a while. I also think it would be interesting to get a lady bug house and a bat house.


    Monterey Bay Aquarium

ElkHorn Slough

Aņo Nuevo State Reserve