“Sixty years ago Duane Rumbaugh broke the ground on research into the mental capabilities of our closest cousins, the chimpanzees.  Working with both Pan troglodytes – known as the common chimp, and Pan paniscus, or Bonobo chimpanzees, Duane and his colleagues uncovered an amazing wealth of data that has transformed our view of our closest ‘relatives.’  His story of research, findings and work is a must read.”

– Carole A. Travis-Henikoff, author of  Dinner with a Cannibal


“This is a different kind of jungle book.  The jungle here is not wild Africa, but a jungle of truth, myth and misinformation about the language abilities of apes. The story is told through the eyes of one of the 20th century’s premier ape language researchers. Professor Duane Rumbaugh reveals how he and his many colleagues teased behaviors out of zoo and laboratory apes so that both their limitations and abilities were revealed. He describes, in a way that is seldom seen in published literature, both methods that worked and methods that didn’t. And his heroine is not human—but not completely inhuman either—a chimpanzee named Lana, who to a considerable extent shaped his personal and professional life. Readers will find themselves intrigued by what it took to get Lana to express herself  by pressing keys on which patterns (called lexigrams) were presented. Observations of Lana led, directly or indirectly, to a host of other observations of language-based behaviors in chimpanzees and bonobos, and to new ways of teaching language to developmentally delayed children. The findings also convinced the author that psychologists’ theories of learning and behavior were seriously incomplete, a problem that he tackles with his theory of emergents.

Not only is this book well written and enjoyable, it is an important book in that its writing serves a great cause: the long-term well-being of apes used by the author and his colleagues of the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary and the Language Research Center of Georgia State University. Dr. Rumbaugh is dedicating all proceeds from the book to help support those apes rather than to help meet his own financial needs.  Perhaps that is an indication that he may have learned as much from his life with apes as they did from him!”

– William A. Hillix,  coauthor  with Duane Rumbaugh of  Animal Bodies, Human Minds: Ape, Dolphin, and Parrot Language Skills


“In With Apes in Mind Duane Rumbaugh, makes us understand how close in behavior and understanding our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom are to us. Because of this similarity, it is not surprising that 50 years ago primates were selected to lead our exploration of space. Where the Russians had launched dogs in their early spacecraft, the U.S. began with the squirrel monkey in 1958 and later moved on to chimpanzees in preparation for manned flight. The chatter of the first primate space traveler “Little Old Reliable” as the rocket soared into space demonstrated that the way would be open to men.  And Rumbaugh had a hand in that. He participated in the first centrifuge test that demonstrated that the squirrel monkey was fit for space.”

– Robert Voas, Mercury Astronaut Training Officer


“This book is a fascinating summary of the contributions to behavioral primatology made by one of the 20th century’s most productive and imaginative primatologists.  The account contains an invaluable account of the evolution of Duane Rumbaugh’s language research from simple object naming to bonobo and chimpanzee capabilities to understand spoken English including novel requests.  Dr. Rumbaugh’s pioneering contributions to comparative primate learning and a new broadly based learning theory are also described.”

–  James E. King, coauthor, Weiss, A., King, J. E. & L. Murray (2011), Personality and temperament in nonhuman primates.


“A great example of how systematic science advances led the author from San Diego to Atlanta — and to LANA.”

– George Collier, emeritus Professor, Rutgers University.