Headline December 31, 2018/ '' 'AMERICAN SCIENTIST DOROTHY L. CHENEY' '' : 1950-2018


DOROTHY L. CHENEY' '' : 1950-2018

SCIENTIST Dorothy Leavitt Cheney was born on Aug 24, 1950, in Boston. Her father, Edward, was a Foreign Service Officer, and her mother, Sally [Leavitt] Cheney was a translator

DOROTHY L. CHENEY, whose careful research into how primates live and communicate revealed the surprising complexity of their thought processes and social structures, died on Nov 9 at her home in Devon, Pa. She was 68.

Her husband and research partner, Robert M. Sayfarth, said the cause was breast cancer.

''Cheney was a spectacular scientist,'' Robert M. Spolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the author of books like ''A Primates Memoir,'' said by email.

''Along with Robert Seyfarth, she did wonderful, clever, elegant field experiments that revealed how other primates think about the world - showing that they think in far more sophisticated and interesting ways than most people anticipated,''

Rather than doing their research in laboratories, Dr. Cheney and Dr. Seyfarth spent long stretches in the wilds of Africa and elsewhere, studying gorillas, baboons, vervet monkeys and other animals.

One of their best known experiments, conducted in Kenya in 1977, showed that vervets made distress sounds not just involuntarily, out of fear but to convey a specific message, about a given threat.

They hid loudspeakers in bushes, played recorded sounds of vervets and watched the reaction. A particular bark sent the animals scurrying up trees because it was a warning about Leopard; a low pitched staccato noise had them looking skyward for predatory eagles.

They summarised their research in  their first book, ''How Monkeys See the World : Inside the Mind of Another Species'' [1990].

Later research in Botswana included insights into the hierarchical nature of baboon societies and its possible evolutionary effects

''Because Western scientists learned about primates by examining corpses or observing single animals brought home as pets,'' they wrote in their 2017 book:

''Baboon Metaphysics : The Evolution of a Social Mind,'' ''few if any ever learned what can be discovered only through long, patient observations : that the most human features of monkeys and apes lie not in their physical appearance but in their social relationships.''

Because of her father's job, Ms. Cheney spent part of her childhood in Malaysia, the Netherlands,  India and Nicaragua. [Edward Cheney died in a plane crash in the Philippines in 1976].

She graduated from the Abbott Academy in Massachusetts in 1968 and earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Wellesley College in 1972.

She had planned to go to law school .

But her husband, whom she had married in 1971, had applied to work with noted zoologist Robert Hinde at Cambridge University, and when he had an opportunity to go to South Africa to study baboons, he suggested she come along.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Great Scientists continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Neil Genzlinger.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare for Great Global Elections and ''register' on : wssciw.blogspot.com - The World Students Society and................. Twitter - E-!WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

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