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Book's plea: Save the bonobos
Date:7/1/2008

os diverged markedly from chimpanzees in social structure. They are matriarchal as opposed to the patriarchal chimpanzees. And, while chimpanzees are smart, bonobos are less excitable and more prone to pay attention, traits that could make them more amenable to learning.

In 2000, Goodenough spent time at the Apenhaus in Holland, a facility that houses bonobos, and became hooked on the creatures. Roughly the same time, she befriended Frans de Waal, an Emory primatologist who has written extensively about bonobos. Goodenough became acquainted with Coxe and Hurley, who have family at Martha's Vineyard where Goodenough and her family spend summers.

At Coxe's suggestion, Goodenough contacted St. Louis photographer Brickner, whose photographs of bonobos at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida had impressed Coxe. Goodenough found that Brickner had a vast storehouse of bonobo pictures, waiting for publication. Her daughter, Levine, had established a career as a writer, and the notion of putting together a consciousness-raising book fell in place.

A dream comes true?

"I asked Marian what she planned to do with all of these wonderful pictures," Goodenough said. "She told me that the most important thing in her life was to have children come to know bonobos. It was her dream. She wanted them to like bonobos and see that bonobos are very much like kids. If this could happen on a large scale, she hoped that the recognition would help in their conservation and preservation."

The book has 28 photographs. The story thread tells of the activities of Lucy, her brother Kaleb, Aunt Lexi and her mother Lorel in a typical bonobo day, a sort of Ulysses treatment of a great ape family, with Lucy the focus. The text is smooth and charming, the photographs, warm, humorous and compelling. And the message is clear: Lucy is a lot like us, especially like a young girl, and these great apes are in trouble. From the back of the book:

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Contact: Tony Fitzpatrick
tony_fitzpatrick@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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