University of ArizonaNorton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

Learning about human parenting from gorilla fathers

International Researchers Announce New Rwandan Student Study Abroad at University of Arizona Homecoming Lecture

TUCSON, AZ (Oct. 14, 2010) -- Internationally respected gorilla researchers Dr. Dieter and Netzin Steklis will present their latest findings on how studying these primates expand our understanding of human parenting during the University of Arizona’s Homecoming Week. At the presentation, they will provide details about a new, student study abroad in Rwanda, Africa, through the Norton School and Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families.

At “Gorilla in Our Midst: What Titus Can Teach Us About Fatherhood,” the husband and wife research team will detail their lifetime of work following great ape families to learn about primate parenting as a way to gain greater understanding of human father-child relationships. The presentation will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m., in the McClelland Park Room 105.

“We are excited about sponsoring this Study Abroad program as part of the Fathers, Parenting and Families Initiative in the Institute. We have a lot to learn by studying gorilla’s parenting behavior,” said, Stephen Russell, Ph.D., Director of the Frances McClelland Institute.

The first Primate Family Systems Field School university study abroad  will be held next summer and offer students a four-week interdisciplinary field study to observe primate family systems, using evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology and human development as analytical tools. Much of the research will be on the slopes of Rwanda’s extinct Virunga volcanoes, where the gorilla families, golden monkeys, chimpanzees, black and white colobus and guenon monkeys travel through an African-alpine jungle. The students’ field study includes a safari in Rwanda’s savanna countryside to observe troops of baboons and velvet monkeys interact with wildlife

The Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families serves as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary research on children, youth, and families at the University of Arizona. Its research initiatives address questions important to the development and well-being of contemporary children, youth, and families, with the goal of improving basic understanding to enhance the lives of the people of Arizona and the world. For more information, visit

The John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, which is part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), currently consists of two divisions: Family Studies & Human Development and Retailing & Consumer Sciences. Both offer B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees and are ranked among the best in the nation. Together, they host four multidisciplinary research, outreach, and education units: the Cooperative Extension, the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing and Consumer Sciences, the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Finance Education and Research, and the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families. For more information, visit

Tel: Main Office 520.621.1075 Norton School Student Services 520.621.1295
Mailing Address: 650 N. Park Ave Tucson, Arizona 85721-0078 (Map to McClelland Park)
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