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Expert to discuss primates at library program

March 14, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A great apes expert will host a primates program on March 16 at the Captiva Memorial Library.

At 1 p.m., Donna Griffin will present "The Talking Apes: Are they just aping us or do they grasp what we consider language?" The program is free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.

Griffin has worked with great apes, specifically orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees. She has explored tool use and handedness in chimpanzees and has worked with cognition in chimpanzees and orangutans, as well as with social behavior in gorillas.

The discussion will include research, an overview of the great apes and their status, and ways they can be helped. Branch Manager Colleen Barany explained that the library tries to mix up it for patrons.

"We try to do something a little different and this is very different," she said.

Griffin graduated from The Ohio State University with a major in natural resources, specializing in wildlife management. She attended East Carolina University for graduate school and received a Master of Arts in anthropology, specializing in primatology. Griffin wrote her thesis on hand preference and tool use in chimpanzees while working with the chimpanzee troop at the North Carolina Zoo.

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After graduation, Griffin went on to complete a research internship at Zoo Atlanta, where she worked with orangutans and gorillas conducting behavioral and cognitive research. She worked with chimpanzees for six years at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Griffin has continued to work with all species of animals in various zoos and in veterinary medicine.

She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.

For more information, call 239-533-4890 or visit

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If you go


"The Talking Apes: Are they just aping us or do they grasp what we consider language?"


Donna Griffin


March 16 at 1 p.m.


Captiva Memorial Library, 11560 Chapin Lane


Free and open to the public

The Captiva Memorial Library is at 11560 Chapin Lane.



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