A Half-Century Partnership in Science

Posted On August 15, 2019
Categories LRC News, Uncategorized

Few collaborations last 50 years. It is even more rare for such lifelong partnerships to exist between a human and a nonhuman primate. However, a remarkable journey in science began in the early 1970s when Professor Duane Rumbaugh (1929-2017) chose to focus his new, innovative ape-language research on a young chimpanzee named Lana (1970-2016). For the better part of five decades, Rumbaugh and Lana worked together and with others to change our understanding of language, the capacity for computer-based communication by (and between) human and nonhuman primates, the processes and limits of numerical processing by chimpanzees, and many other topics.

The death of Rumbaugh and his beloved Lana, just seven month apart, closed an important chapter in the history of comparative psychology and of Georgia State University. However, both left a profound legacy and impact on the field. Lana and Rumbaugh remained active in science to the last. Lana contributed data to more than 200 publications–a number that continues to grow. Dr. Rumbaugh generated continuous grant support for more than 40 years, resulting in published books and articles that established a new framework for understanding learning and behavior.

The LRC, Georgia State University, and the field of comparative psychology owe them a tremendous debt. The people who worked with Professor Rumbaugh or with Lana remember these life-long partners in behavioral science with great fondness.

See https://news.gsu.edu/research-magazine/spring2018/the-lana-legacy/ for the full story

Animal Behavior & Cognition Reflections: Tributes to Duane M. Rumbaugh (1929-2017)

Click here to see the Amazing Apes video on the early days of the LANA ape-language project.