Next of Kin

Next of Kin

My Conversations with Chimpanzees

Allow me one more indulgence, would you? I remember finding this on a bottom shelf in my local library when I was just a young kid with dreams of scientific study in my future. This was one of the first books I read on the study of chimpanzees. Next of Kin is a fascinating glimpse into the work of Roger Fouts and the surrounding team of scientists who attempted to teach a chimpanzee named Washoe how to communicate through sign language. This story has stayed with me for years as one I remember fondly and with great interest—and I’m not the only one. It currently holds a five-star rating on Amazon. Curious? Give it a read!

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About the Book

For 30 years Roger Fouts has pioneered communication with chimpanzees through sign language–beginning with a mischievous baby chimp named Washoe. This remarkable book describes Fout’s odyssey from novice researcher to celebrity scientist to impassioned crusader for the rights of animals. Living and conversing with these sensitive creatures has given him a profound appreciation of what they can teach us about ourselves. It has also made Fouts an outspoken opponent of biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees. A voyage of scientific discovery and interspecies communication, this is a stirring tale of friendship, courage, and compassion that will change forever the way we view our biological–and spiritual–next of kin.

Authors: ,
Series: Best Nonfiction Science Books
Genre: Nonfiction
ISBN: 0380728222
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About the Author
Roger Fouts

Roger S. Fouts is a retired American primate researcher. He was co-founder and co-director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) in Washington, and a professor of psychology at the Central Washington University. He is best known for his role in teaching Washoe the chimpanzee to communicate using a set of signs taken from American sign language.

Fouts is an animal rights advocate, citing the New Zealand Animal Welfare Act as a model for legal rights for the Great Apes (Hominidae), and campaigning with British primatologist Jane Goodall for improved conditions for chimpanzees. He has written on animal law and on the ethics of animal testing. He is also an adviser to the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

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