In the first installment of our "International Primatology Lectures on Past, Present and Future Perspectives of the Field", Dr. Michael Huffman - a.k.a. "Monkey Mike" - winds us up with a personal story of achieving lifelong dreams and learning to become a monkey.
Mike is a pioneer in many ways. Perhaps most famous for his discoveries of self-medication in wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, he was also among the earlier scientists exploring topics like female mate choice and behavioral traditions - which we now know to be a form of animal culture - in Japanese macaques at Arashiyama Monkey Park in Kyoto, Japan).
But even the fact that he came to Japan to begin his career in the academy in his early twenties shows just what a pioneering spirit he has! But with mentors like the late Dr. Junichiro Itani, and a rich and active history of primatology in Japan, Mike found his way and eventually learned to become a monkey.
Mike presents his origin story here, in a talk entitled "Learning to become a monkey: and other lessons for becoming a primatologist". Watch it above or directly on YouTube.
If you want to know more about Dr. Michael Huffman, visit his academic website.
In this lecture series, we explore various origin stories as told by famed members of our primatology comunity. All lectures are held in a private Zoom community and live streamed to our CICASP YouTube Channel.
Unlike most academic lectures, which are usually focused on testing scientific hypotheses, this series is designed to offer a feel for how one becomes a professional in the field of primatology. In a way, we might think of it as a career primer for young primatologists just starting their own journeys into the nether regions of Academia. At the same time, anyone might enjoy the stories told of big dreams, exotic locations and species, and the humanity inherent in forging a new path in life and in work.
In addition to Dr. Michael Huffman, we have also lined up other enticing speakers for future lectures, including Dr. Vernon Reynolds (coming July 7th, 2021), Dr. Elisabetta Visalberghi and Dr. Ramesh Boonratana, among others.