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Thumbnail of Dian Fossey (source)
Dian Fossey
(16 Jan 1932 - 26 Dec 1985)

American zoologist who spent years studying and protecting the mountain forest gorillas of Rwanda, central Africa, about which she wrote in Gorillas in the Mist (1983).


Dian Fossey - My first encounter with gorillas

Illustrated Quote - Medium (500 x 350 px)

“I shall never forget my first encounter with gorillas. Sound preceded sight. Odor preceded sound in the form of an overwhelming, musky-barnyard, humanlike scent.”
— Dian Fossey
From Gorillas in the Mist (1983)

More Dian Fossey quotes on science >>

The quote comes from early in the first chapter of Dian Fossey's well-known biographical book, Gorillas in the Mist. She had flown in September 1963 to Africa to see the mountain gorillas of Mt. Mikeno in the Congo. She first met with anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey excavating at Olduvai. From there she went to Kabara in the Virungas mountains, and was led into the forest by photographers Joan and Alan Root, then filming a documentary on the mountain gorillas.

“I shall never forget my first encounter with gorillas. Sound preceded sight. Odor preceded sound in the form of an overwhelming, musky-barnyard, humanlike scent. The air was suddenly rent by a high-pitched series of screams followed by the rhythmic rondo of sharp pok-pok chestbeats from a great silverbacked male obscured behind what seemed an impenetrable wall of vegetation.”

They froze until the sounds faded and crept forward through the vegetation and saw “an equally curious phalanx of black, leather-countenanced, furry-headed primates peering back” at them.

“Immediately I was struck by the physical magnificence of the huge jet-black bodies blended against the green palette wash of the thick forest foliage.”

The screams and chest-beating were of alarm, not ferocity, and the male gorillas remained as curious to view the visitors with the movie camera as they were to capture a record of the gorillas. The great apes obligingly displayed various actions whether for intimidation or “as if competing for attention.” Already Fossey interpreted their individuality and even shyness. She was left with a captivating impression from that first encounter when her short stay ended and Fossey reluctantly returned her job in America. She was already in no doubt that she would “return to learn more about the gorillas of the misted mountains.”

Text by Webmaster with quotes from Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist (1983), 3. (source)


See also:
  • Science Quotes by Dian Fossey.
  • 16 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Fossey's birth.
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote The dignity of the gorilla - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote The dignity of the gorilla - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote I feel more comfortable with gorillas - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote I feel more comfortable with gorillas - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote My first encounter with gorillas - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Gorillas in the Mist, by Dian Fossey. - book suggestion.

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)

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