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Dian Fossey

  • None of the three great apes is considered ancestral to modern man, Homo sapiens, but they remain the only other type of extant primate with which human beings share such close physical characteristics. From them we may learn much concerning the behavior of our earliest primate prototypes, because behavior, unlike bones, teeth, or tools, does not fossilize.

  • The extraordinary gentleness of the adult male with his young dispels all the King Kong mythology.

  • Peanuts ... suddenly stopped and turned to stare directly at me. The expression in his eyes was unfathomable. Spellbound, I returned his gaze — a gaze that seemed to combine elements of inquiry and acceptance. ... I returned to camp and cabled Dr. Leaky I've finally been accepted by a gorilla.

  • Peanuts became the first gorilla ever to touch me. ... After looking intently at my hand, Peanuts stood up and extended his hand to touch his fingers against my own for a brief instant. Thrilled at his own daring, he gave vent to his excitement by a quick chestbeat before going off to rejoin his group. ... The contact was among the most memorable of my life among the gorillas.

Dian Fossey, English biologist

(1932 - 1985)