Now we must redefine 'tool', redefine 'man', or accept chimpanzees as humans.

My name is Ilana Nyveen. I'm a queer Jew from Montreal and I just graduated from Rice University with a BSc in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. 

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation has provided me with the opportunity to explore my existential interest in the intersection of humanity and apehood. I hope to gain a better understanding of why humans are the way they are through close interactions with our sister species, in addition to investigating ape conservation and research efforts. With a climate crisis upon us, I want to take the time to observe the different ways that apes coexist with and clash with the natural world. 

Besides the primatological approach, I'm also engaging with more anthropological methodologies by visiting different communities, from bustling cities to quiet farms, and comparing the way people living in them relate to each other and to the land they've settled on. 

In other words: I'm doing something, but it is actually a lot of different simultaneous somethings, and I'm not really sure what they all mean yet, but this is my way of trying to sort through them.

Ilana Nyveen
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