My life’s work has been based on participating in non-invasive language research with bonobos and chimpanzees, who share nearly 99% of their DNA with humans. In the photo is Panbanisha, a 25 year old female bonobo, who uses an electronic keyboard with ‘words’ in a language called Yerkish on it to communicate with me. Panbanisha is altering our relationship with the gift of language, taking it to a truly higher level.
Since the discovery of my brain tumor (gliosarcoma grade 4), in August 2008, and subsequent surgeries, all of the bonobos that I work with at the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary have shown tender compassion and attentive care to my scars. Their concern, along with the incredible support from family, friends and the wonderful medical support I have received, have led me down a path of tranquility. Hope is alive at Duke and the research done there is pioneering work in understanding the extraordinary mysteries of the miracle of the brain.