Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

( 1 )


Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves.

Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas in turn, and covering the highlights of their respective careers, Primates is an accessible, ...

See more details below
Hardcover (First Edition)
$15.20 price
(Save 23%)$19.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (39) from $6.93   
  • New (22) from $8.14   
  • Used (17) from $6.93   
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$9.99 price


Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves.

Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas in turn, and covering the highlights of their respective careers, Primates is an accessible, entertaining, and informative look at the field of primatology and at the lives of three of the most remarkable women scientists of the twentieth century. Thanks to the charming and inviting illustrations by Maris Wicks, this is a nonfiction graphic novel with broad appeal.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

They called them "the Trimates" or "Leakey's Angels," but however we characterize them, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas changed the face of primatology. Each of them benefited from their mentor Louis Leakey's belief that women had superior observational than men. Their personalities and scientific breakthroughs are the subject of this graphic novel by comics science writer Jim Ottaviani (Feynman; Fallout) and self-professed "primate artist" Maris Wicks. An accessible introduction to an exciting scientific field that is mostly unknown even to general science readers. Editor's recommendation.

The New York Times Book Review - Carl Zimmer
…[Ottaviani and Wicks] succeed in conjuring the feel of extraordinary science. And they do so not by manufacturing fake emotion, but by sticking to the reality of being a scientist—the hard punishments of fieldwork, the strains on marriage, the cocktail-party diplomacy back home and, most important of all, the elation of discovery. Especially in its portrayal of this final element, Primates is the kind of book that can produce new scientists.
Publishers Weekly
Ottaviani(Feynman) examines the lives and scientific work of the three great primatologists of the 1960s, as they intersect through mutual mentor Louis Leakey. The book begins with a young Goodall, who is fascinated by Tarzan (and is jealous of “the other Jane”), as she’s drawn into research by Leakey, who believes that women make better researchers than men due to their observational skills . Fossey and Galdikas have similar stories, studying gorillas and orangutans respectively. The women make groundbreaking discoveries in primatology, forever changing scientists’ views of humans’ closest relatives while battling obstacles—from poachers to government obstruction. Ottaviani succeeds in capturing their hard work and the thrilling breakthroughs during years of research, without looking away from some of the darker details, such as Leakey’s womanizing. Wicks’s cartoony illustrations are a great match for the story; they never get bogged down with unnecessary details and briskly move forward the account of the women and their subjects. A riveting, jargon-free overview of one of the great stories of animal research. (June)
From the Publisher
Praise for Feynman:

"Splendid." —The Miami Herald

"Entertaining and informative." —Science

"Lovely." —Newsday

"Captures the jazzy flow of Feynman’s life in its spare lines." —USA Today

"These images capture with remarkable sensitivity the essence of Feynman’s character. The comic-book picture somehow comes to life and speaks with the voice of the real Feynman." —Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books

Praise for Primates:

"An accessible introduction to Goodall’s, Fossey’s and Galdikas’ lives and work." — Kirkus Reviews

"A graphic format admirably propels this lightly fictionalized group biography." — The Horn Book

"Presented as dedicated, iconoclastic, and profoundly in awe of the creatures around them, Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas are inspiring figures, and Ottaviani does a first-rate job of dangling enough tantalizing tidbits to pique readers’ interest in the topic." — Booklist

"The story of how each of these women loved primates and lived among them to study their behavior is compelling, and might inspire a whole new generation of scientists to follow in their footsteps." — School Library Journal

"This is an inviting introduction that will undoubtedly lure many readers into further investigation of this groundbreaking fieldwork." — BCCB

Children's Literature - Maria Lamattina
The names of the scientists in this text are certainly familiar to most adults, but for young adults, Ottaviani has created an entertaining peek into the lives of three remarkable women. Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas all worked for famed anthropologist, Louis Leakey. Through personal motivation, passion for studying primates, and Leakey’s inspiration, these scientists contributed to our understanding of these animals, and, ultimately, ourselves. Young readers will undoubtedly be intrigued to learn how a passion developed early in life can lead to a lifetime of study, personal satisfaction, and professional success. Maris Wicks’ comic illustrations invite young readers into the world of primates as much as Ottaviani’s words. In the process, the reader gains much intriguing scientific information. For example, chimpanzees and humans share 96% of their DNA, and, chimps, like man, use tools — something that may, on the surface, not impress except for the fact that it takes thought to do so. Different fonts and text features to differentiate dialogue, thought, and journal entries (which are written in a script font) are just a few of the important stylistic choices made by Ottaviani and Wicks. As part of a genre study, one of the more interesting aspects of the structure of the work is the Afterword, in which the author points out that although he and the illustrator certainly conducted research on the lives of the three women (as well primates), and worked to accurately portray anything of significance, much of what they wrote was invented—they wanted to tell a story that would convey the major themes and discoveries of these three lives. The result—an entertaining introduction to research that young adult readers might easily overlook. Reviewer: Maria Lamattina; Ages 12 up.
VOYA - Rebecca Denham
As the title suggests, Primates details the life and research of three female scientists who changed the face of primate studies. Told through graphic panels, Primates follows the events leading to each scientist's work with primates and their impact on primatology and anthropological studies. Readers are given a first-person glimpse into Jane's passion for chimps, Dian's determination to protect the world's gorillas, and Birute's enthusiasm for orangutans. The art is simplistic, yet powerful, with interesting details about the scientists' introductions to life with and the study of primates. Each scientist has a distinct personality and motivation which is used to illustrate how each of these women approached scientific inquiry. One of the most interesting points illustrated in this graphic novel is that none of these women had a degree in primatology, or a background in science, when they began their observations of chimps, gorillas, and orangutans. Overall, Primates is an intriguing introduction to three female scientists who changed the way the world defined "human." Reviewer: Rebecca Denham
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This engaging graphic novel (part story, part group biography) introduces readers to three unique women whose different personalities and lives intersected because of their love of primates. They would never have met without the guidance of Louis Leakey, an anthropologist who believed that women were better at studying animals in their native environment because they were more patient and perceptive than men. Over a period of several years, he recruited and inspired these women to study chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and orangutans. The book jumps back and forth among the different narrators, so that each of the women and even Leakey are sharing their views about their work and about one another. In the afterword, Ottaviani explains how he and Wicks wanted to create a story rather than a textbook, and so they combined the facts with some imaginative fictionalizing. While this might not be the best resource for homework assignments, it is an enjoyable and informative read. The illustrations are lively and cartoonish, using a natural palette of browns and greens to tell the story. Overall, the graphic-novel format makes what could be a dry subject more appealing for young people. The story of how each of these women loved primates and lived among them to study their behavior is compelling, and might inspire a whole new generation of scientists to follow in their footsteps.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran science writer Ottaviani (Feynman, 2011, etc.) teams up with illustration newcomer Wicks in this semifictionalized overview of the "Trimates," three women primatologists championed by Louis Leakey. The book opens with Goodall's cozy first-person account of her childhood dreams of studying animals in Africa, her recruitment by Leakey, the establishment of her long-term chimpanzee study in Nigeria and her key discoveries regarding chimpanzee behavior. The narrative then shifts from Goodall to Leakey's other protégées, Fossey and Galdikas, and their influential research on, respectively, gorillas and orangutans. Fossey and Galdikas also tell their own tales in distinct, often funny, voices. Wicks' cheerful drawings complement the women's stories by highlighting their humorous moments. However, the simplicity of Wicks' rounded figures and flat backgrounds make the panels documenting primate behavior less effective than they could be. Another weakness is the text's tendency to summarize when more scientific and biographical detail would be welcome. For example, the final chapter covers the later stages of the Trimates' careers but only briefly addresses the circumstances surrounding Fossey's death. Readers looking for more substantial biographies or science should seek out other sources after whetting their appetites here. More story than study, the book provides an accessible introduction to Goodall's, Fossey's and Galdikas' lives and work. (afterword, bibliography) (Graphic novel. 10-14)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596438651
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 136,302
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Ottaviani has written nonfiction, science-oriented comics since 1997, notably the number one New York Times bestseller, Feynman and Fallout which was nominated for an Ignatz Award. He has worked as a nuclear engineer, caddy, programmer, and reference librarian. Primates is his first collaboration with artist Maris Wicks. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Maris Wicks (Primates) lives with fellow primate Joe Quinones and their cat, Biggs, in Somerville, Massachusetts.  She has used her opposable thumbs to draw comics for Adhouse Books, Tugboat Press, and Spongebob Comics, and written stories for Image and DC Comics.  When she's not making comics, Maris works as a program educator at the New England Aquarium.  She is an avid tool user and is particularly fond of bananas.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)