( / / ; January 16, 1932 – c. December 26, 1985) was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorillagroups over a period of 18 years. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by famousanthropologist Louis Leakey.Fossey was murdered in 1985; the case remains open.
Called one of the foremost primatologists in the world while she was alive, Fossey, along with Jane Goodall and Birut? Galdikas, were the so-calledTrimates, a group of three prominent researchers on primates (Fossey on gorillas; Goodall on chimpanzees; and Galdikas on orangutans) sent by Leakey to study great apes in their natural environments.
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- Dian Fossey was born in San Francisco, California to George E. Fossey III, an insurance agent, and Kathryn "Kitty" (Kidd) Fossey, a fashion model.
Her father was a US Navy sailor. Her parents divorced when Dian was aged 6.
- Her mother remarried the following year, to businessman Richard Price.
- Her father tried to keep in contact, but her mother discouraged it, and all contact was subsequently lost.
- Dian’s stepfather, Richard Price, never treated Dian as his own child. He would not allow Dian to sit at the dining room table with him or Dian’s mother during dinner meals.
- A man adhering to strict discipline, Richard Price offered Dian little to no emotional support. Struggling with personal insecurity, Dian turned to animals as a way to gain acceptance.
- Her love for animals began with her first pet goldfish and continued throughout her entire life. At age six, she began horse riding, earning a letter from her school; by her graduation in 1954, Fossey had established herself as an equestrienne.