Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Origin Stories: Dian Fossey

In this never-before-released archival lecture from 1973, the legendary primatologist Dian Fossey tells the story of the early years of her groundbreaking mountain gorilla research.

Dian Fossey with mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Photo from The Leakey Foundation Archive.

The Leakey Foundation is 50 years old this year, and we’re celebrating this milestone by sharing rare, previously unreleased lectures from the Foundation’s archive. These talks are like a time capsule that lets you hear from scientists and thinkers in their own words and in their own voices as they were making the discoveries that made them famous.

The Leakey Foundation’s Speaker Series on Human Origins has been ongoing since the Foundation’s beginning in 1968, and speakers from many disciplines have been invited to share their research and reflection on the origins, evolution, behavior, and survival of our species. Many of the world’s most celebrated scientists have given Leakey Foundation lectures, including many from disciplines outside of anthropology.

The second lecture in this “From the Archive” series is by Dian Fossey, the legendary primatologist who was sent by Louis Leakey to study mountain gorillas in 1967. She gave this Leakey Foundation lecture in 1973, only six years after beginning her study at Karisoke in Rwanda.

Dian Fossey was one of the Foundation’s first grantees and she received 16 research grants from The Leakey Foundation over her lifetime.

In this talk, she describes what it was like to establish the Karisoke Research Center and she explores what she had learned so far about the behavior of the mountain gorilla.

Listen here and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Radio Public, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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