Roger Fouts, Ph.D is the Co-Founder of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute where he served as Co-Director (with his wife Deborah) and was Professor of Psychology at Central Washington University before retiring in 2011. Roger is best known for teaching sign language to Washoe, who is the first chimpanzee to ever learn sign language. He is the author of Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees.
I first encountered Roger’s writing in The Great Ape Project, followed by Next of Kin, and was captivated by the stories of what chimpanzees liked to sign about, both privately and socially. I first met Roger when he spoke at a Chimpanzee Symposium in Seattle with Jane Goodall and Steve Wise in 2002. Because the interviews for my project were based around the book The Great Ape Project, I knew it would be important to interview someone who had first hand knowledge of the intelligence and capabilities of chimpanzees.
We had requested to meet Roger at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute; however he did not allow filming of the chimpanzees there and so instead asked to meet us in Seattle. He drove into town from Central Washington University, arrived in the evening and was taking a flight out the next day. We rented a space at a hotel near the airport and so took several breaks during the interview to wait for planes to fly on above us. Roger struck me as someone who is very passionate about his work and holds a very no-nonsense, inclusive view of animals place in the world.
YOU CAN FIND ALL OF ROGER FOUTS’S INTERVIEWS HERE. This collection may increase as I upload more content to this site.