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Next Of Kin

The next of kin a documentation of mind matter and love. This book was very inspirational it gives you a whole new outlook on the experience and the feelings of animals. Trying to relate with how much Roger Fouts has accomplished in his life is unbearable he has had so many experiences that have been recorded in this book. It was the type of book that was hard to put down from the beginning. In the next few pages I will discuss parts of the book that really moved me and left an impression on me. There are so many great parts it was hard to pick just a few to look into. I read this book in the first few weeks of school and re-read in the last two weeks, also I have bought a copy for my sister who is very interested in primate psychology and it has so much information and personal experience in it that it is in a way a textbook for primate psychology.

Washoe was an extraordinary animal saved out of NASA by very patient and brilliant people, it was very exciting to see the advancements that she had made throughout the book. Not only her but also the few people that had have been working with her. The Gardner’s the first care takers of Washoe was saved by the Gardner’s had put a lot of trust into Roger and he proved to be able to accept and work with Washoe from the beginning on.

Fouts, started off as a little kid knowing his only monkey to be curious George, never realizing that George was not a monkey but a chimp. Growing up on a farm Fouts was always around many animals tending and working with them. Realizing the importance of the entire animal Fouts than realized the loyalty when his dog brownie had died jumping in front of the tractor to save his fallen brother. The care for animal was in all of the family even the mother who had many old time stories to tell about animal intelligences. A life and environment changing situation had happened when Fouts was about twelve years old and the only ones still in the house out of nine children was him and another brother. Fouts parents packed up the kids and stuff and move to Los Angeles, California.

Around this time in his life he was dreaming of becoming a psychologist. Fouts family had a way of not finishing school but become loyal workers, and Fouts was devoted to finishing college, the only one in his family with the intention of getting more schooling was his mother who at age 52 decided to go back to high school and finish, she to was very interest in the healing of the mind which, also was a inspiration for Fouts to pursue this career. When Fouts started his college career at Compton, his intention was to study human psychology but it was required to take animal psychology as well. The very first animal behavior he was thought that they were mindless creatures who rigid behavior, unlike that of

Humans, is controlled by instinct. After much schooling Fouts applied to many clinical schools. After time and time again Fouts was denied and was pushed towards a second-tier school in experimental psychology-or rat psych, as it is affectionately known studies of animal in cages. The University of Nevada accepted Fouts in to their experimental psychology program. Time goes on and Fouts get the cal to change the rest of his life, the call was from a Dr. Paul Secord, telling Fouts “Teaching a chimpanzee to talk,” with disbelief roger replied back “what”, and the Dr. repeated himself. Fouts went on to take it in with full stride just trying to get his foot in the door, with his main intention of working with kids this entire time.

Ready for the job Fouts had one more task into getting the job, and that task was getting through to a very strict man called Allen Gardner. Fouts had taken many courses in animal psychology and statistics. To Garner this was just garbage he didn’t believe that everything was to be solved in a laboratory that animal had to watched and worked with? The interview was going terrible, Fouts pulled out all the tricks telling him how he was excited to take courses with two well-known philosophers of science. Garner shot back with “Science doesn’t need philosophy.” Fouts was very disappointed feeling that it was all over, the interview was over and Gardner asked Fouts if he would like to go see Washoe, Fouts did and as they approached the gated area Fouts noticed two adults playing with a child under a tree. Than a beginning point of a life long friendship began, Washoe noticed them looking and began running at Gardner and Fouts and it

Leaped up over the fence right into Fouts arms giving him a big hug right when Fouts really need one amazed that it jumped to him Fouts noticed himself hugging her back. Garner knew that Washoe had like him. Garner called a few day’s later telling Fouts that he had the research assistant’s job. Fouts knew who exactly had chosen him for that job, it came out of Garners mouth but Washoe had found herself a really good playmate.

I went into so much detail in the first few chapters because I believe that, it is the most essential it shows the importance of your personal thought and beliefs. It shows me that perspectives of one professional are totally different from another. That life’s little differences may take a good turn and push you towards the time of your life, and you might just find what you have been looking for. It just takes time and patience.

Time and time went on Fouts and Washoe grew closer together Fouts was never looked upon by Washoe as parental figure but just an older brother, that like to be around all the time. Greg Gaustaud another graduate student who entered Washoe’s life about the same time, he to was also looked at as an older brother. Being with Washoe was not as much as a job as it was having a good time. Washoe looked out for each student if one was mad at another it would stick up for the other guy. Sometimes they would take advantage o that at sign to Washoe that the other guy hurt him and Washoe would chase after the other guy until he signed that he was sorry, but there was always sweet revenge that the same thing would be done to him when he lasts expects it. There was never any doubt that Susan Nichols one of the women in the graduate class which made it much more paternal if she acted to cry and tell Washoe that it was me that Fouts was the one that did it, Washoe would chase him around till he apologized and kneeled before her to show submission and my apology. Fouts struggle with the relationship between him and his first dog Brownie. That his first dog never evoked the deep and tangled emotions of friendship, competiveness, and anger and love that he had felt for that little chimp. He sometime would have to make a self-recollection that Washoe was not a human and could not be compared to as one of his brothers, but after a while that distinction was meaningless. Time and time went on Washoe was learning more and more signs by just watching each other, she would have child like tendencies of signing wrong but would later on figure it out just like a child corrects its talking when it get older and more experience.

The Garners had left Washoe and Fouts had taken the responsibility. In 1973 Fouts was flown to Yale’s University to go higher up the ladder in his career. Yale’s experience was a bad one it was not like he wanted it to be, he had came to a conclusion that he needed to fulfill his fantasy and find something for the chimps in a good and clean way of teaching like back at the Gardner’s back yard. With that he declined Yale’s teaching opportunities and moved on. By the mid 70’s Fouts seemed to have everything his wife, children, living in a little country home just like he grew up on and remembered. He was also doing very well with a riding wave of ape language research that had brought him professional acclaim and research funding. Working out of the University of Oklahoma, which was the center of the universe when it came to chimpanzee signings. His work was being published regularly in the most respected journals, and doctoral candidates were flocking to Oklahoma to work with the chimps and Fouts.

1974, Fouts was invited to give a presentation on chimpanzee’s language acquisition at the world’s first Conference on the Behavior of Great Apes, in Austria. The meeting was consisted of some of the finest primentologist such as Junichiro Itani, Diane Fosey, Toshida Nishida, Birut Galdikas, and Jane Goudall. Looking back Fouts was living a dream working with what he want and having a good life, but it was hard for him to grasp the science of chimpanzees which in fact meant life time imprisonment far from there native African homes. Fouts was starting to see that all his work was made possible only by the interactions of his chimpanzee’s research subjects. He thought he had become a jailer. His day-to-day action includes, cages, locks, keys, leads, cattle prods, and guns, and they were totally routine. He had fought and won small battles. The juveniles got their rundevaal shelter on the island. He got permission to take them on walks to forage in the woods. Burris another chimp, got the right to live alone. He carried blanks instead of live ammo. But still in his mind he was a jailer, but a nice one. He knew that every morning he would let them out of their cells, put on their leads, and lead them into the island.

By now project Washoe was fir and foremost a cross-fostering experiment, in which a chimpanzee socially and emotionally attached to a human family. The feeling was mutual. Fouts, college Sellmon was getting a little overboard with the control factor of the chimps and was asking too much with so little. He thought of idiotic ideas to keep chimps from escaping such as changing Doberman pinchers up to fences for the element of surprise. Fouts was very upset and was looking more into the future and what he had done in the past. Fouts, to him had broken the first commandment of behavioral science. “Thou shall not love thy research project,” he was being paid to love his research project to teach it language in a natural family setting. By the time he had realized that when the experiment was over, just like other scientist that he noticed were not so emotionally attached to their research subject, the attachment was suppose to be gone. For Fouts it was not gone the attachment, family like, and loving feeling is still there and will always be there.

Washoe know in has been pregnant, and is going to be giving birth she was very excited and proud to be a mother. But tragedy would strike when Washoe’s baby had died. With that Fouts was starting to realize that he turning into something he despised, Lemmon he thought in a few years he would take over the institute and be making the rules and doing other research to pay the bill and it wouldn’t be like what it was. Something, that he loved and had so much enjoyed to do, something that when he got up in the morning he looked forward to go, not feeling poisoned and his soul was dying every day he went to see the chimps in “prison.”

Late 1977, Fouts had submitted his grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to study “the possibility that infants chimps will acquire sign language from its signing chimps mothers.” He had also been looking for a chimp sanctuary, and as little time went on the search was more and more urgent. A few scientists looking to conduct a study that was of hepatitis B apprehended Lemmon; they wanted to test the vaccines. They had said that it would not kill the chimps that were true. But, damage later could happen to liver, and kidneys. Luckily the contract did not go through for Lemmon. The search for the sanctuary was still going strong.

1978, Washoe was pregnant again, by fellow chimp Ally; from here pregnancy he had received his grant of 187,000 dollars. The money would nor only finance the study, but would also give some independence from Lemmon and protect Washoe’s baby from plans of Lemmon might have for him or her, and protection for Washoe’s partner Ally.

A man called Robert Towne, had heard of Fouts and wanted him to help the actors act more and more lie chimps, because the movie he was working on was Tarzan. Fouts insisted instead of going half way around the world they could just go to Oklahoma, to watch and film the movie. With Warner Brothers backing up Towne, they could easily come up with more money to help out the place and to make it accessible for them to film, while making it a better place. After all of this and the excitement of Fouts, Towne and the agreement of Warner Brothers it was all suddenly ruined. By the one man spited the most by Fouts, Lemmon, he reportedly was seen beating and kicking his horse because it was to old to rude, Towne seen this and wanted nothing to do with Lemmon and since Lemmon owned the chimps there was nothing for Towne to do but take his movie elsewhere. With this huge disappointment Fouts dreams felt crushed, months later Washoe gave birth to a ailing boy, named Sequoyah it was not doing to good, illness would take over at time making Sequoyah deathly ill. After two months death rang it bell over Sequoyah. Lemmon thought this matter was somewhat humorous, and Fouts was ready to leave. Fouts worried about Washoes depression found another baby called Loulis, when introduced to Washoe it was something they did not expect Washoe would only look down at it not picking it up as expected. When Washoe was give Loulis to hold, Loulis was anxious to get out of her arms, Washoe tried games to get the baby to come and play but it was not working. The next morning a dramatic change had happened, Washoe stood up on two feet, and vigorously signed “come baby come baby” with a loud slapping noise. Loulis was jolted awake and jumped into Washoes arms, and fell back asleep. From that day on they slept together and Loulis was dependent on Washoe. Months later Fouts moved Washoe, Loulis, and Ally to a air base field with out permission of Lemmon hoping he would just write it off. But it would not end up that way Lemmon wanted him back immediately, to sell.

With the loss of Ally was the arrival of Moja, which was part of the Gardners second experiment. Moja was kind of a pain in the ass biting and refusing to eat the Gardners where beside themselves, either the arrival of Moja the main teacher was Washoe, see Moja was never around any older chimps and Washoe put her right in line.

His final destination, in 1980 the most unlikely place opened up in a small college town in Ellensburg Washington, called Central Washington University. A professor calling the next day to tell him about the rooms available was persisting upon Fouts unknown. Fouts was off to Ellensburg, with the chimps and his family looking back thinking of only a decade before that Washoe was just a baby and know the chimps and his human family are more of a kin. Time and Time went on with the addition of other chimps, and wonderful environment, Fouts had found what he had been looking for and enjoying once more.

The Next Of Kin, this book was a great book it moved me very much just hearing the struggles and the persistence of Fouts for the love of the animal is awesome. What I respect most that he is not one of those scientists that pluck them out of Africa and begin working with them but is taking in other peoples mishaps and screwups. He takes them in and tries to give them the best help and love possible. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good true story. From the beginning to the end Washoes and Fouts love was like the love a brother and sister, from the first day when she leaped into his arms, but why he had discovered that she had the uncanny knack for seeking out and comforting those who were sad and hurt, but he never did see her do that again. Maybe she just knew he was the one.

Bibliography

Fouts, Roger, 1997

Word Count: 2873

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