Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods

Summer 2011 ORI Selection

Woods writes about her journey that took her from Australia to Congo to study bonobos.  The book has multiple dimensions that make it an excellent choice for ORI. It is the story of a young woman, Vanessa Woods, who is still trying to find her way and finds it through her work with her fiancé, scientist Brian Hare. It is a story about the civil war–torn Congo and the courage of men and women in that country who are picking up the pieces and moving forward. And, finally, it is a story about this species, bonobos, whose tolerance and intelligence are explained in such accessible terms by Vennesa Woods. The book really brings to light the differences between the bonobos and chimpanzees where the former live in a matriarchal society cooperating and rarely fighting and the later with a male-dominated society with significant violence. We hope you will enjoy the book.

Vanessa Woods is an award winning journalist and author. She has written three children's books; one of her book, It's True! Space Turns You Into Spaghetti, won the Acclaimed Book award from the Royal Society, UK. Vanessa is also the author of the travel memoir It's Every Monkey For Themselves about her experiences chasing wild capuchin monkeys through the Costa Rican jungle. Vanessa is an internationally published journalist and has written for various publications including the Discovery Channel, BBC Wildlife, New Scientist, and Travel Africa. In 2003, Vanessa won the Australasian Science award for journalism. Vanessa is currently a Research Scientist at Duke University and studies the cognitive development of chimpanzees and bonobos at sanctuaries in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Information on her talk on Campus:

What We Can Learn From Our Peaceful Cousins in the Congo

Be a part of this special speaking engagement with the author of Bonobo Handshake on Wednesday, October 5th at 7:00 p.m. in Lanigan 101.

Bonobo apes share 98.7 percent of our DNA, and may hold the key to what makes humans, well, human. But unlike their cousins, the chimpanzees, not much is known about them; worse, they are the world's most endangered ape, living in the world's most war-torn country.

Against a backdrop of scientific and personal discovery, Vanessa Woods brings us deep into the jungles of the Congo to show us what makes bonobos tick. What can they teach us about community, about harmonious co-existence, and about ourselves? And what is the true meaning of "Bonobo Handshake"? With energy and charm, Woods shares enlightening anecdotes and groundbreaking research, making a powerful case for saving the bonobo, before it's too late.  

 

Related links

 

Official sites:

· BonoboHandshake.com

· VanessaWoods.net

· Publisher Site with Author Interview

· Author Q&A from the Publisher

Blogs and related news articles about the book and author:

·  Raleigh News & Observer Blog  

·  Smithsonian.com Blog

·  ScienceBlogs.com

·  Unbreakablemanlaws.com Q&A

·  PBS.org/Nova  

·  PsychologyToday.com Blogging by Author  

·  The Durham News Feature

·  The Women's Conference Website Essay

Media - Videos and Podcasts

· Duke University After Hours Video

· Skeptically Speaking Podcast

· Sierra Club Radio

· Wisconsin Public Radio/Here on Earth