“Sleeping Cuties:” When Your Scientist Father’s Life Work Makes You Go “Wow!” But Also, “Awww…”

I’ve written before about my father’s work at the Duke Lemur Center. But never before has the mainstream media captured that work so clearly for us laypeople. And I have to say, I’m feeling a little conflicted.

On the one hand, my dad is a Serious Scientist who’s spent his life doing Serious Science. His past subjects have ranged from elephant seals to domestic and feral goats to reef fish to, yes, lemurs. (Which is why he is a co-founder of the Duke Lemur Center in my hometown, Durham, North Carolina.) His work has taken him all over the world, most notably to Madagascar, where lemurs live. This particular study has to do with understanding primate brains, with an eye to everything from surgery to long-range space travel. SERIOUS STUFF.

But on the other hand…these animals are really stinkin’ CUTE!

Now, thanks to this episode of Science Friday, created by Luke Groskin and Johanna Mayer, his research is easy to explain…and it’s also ridiculously adorable. I don’t really know what to do with that. But I guess if Dr. Serious Scientist Peter Klopfer can handle his subjects’ cuteness, so can I. Enjoy!

Celebratin’ 50 Years of Redneck Lemurs

How about another lemur update? Here we go.

If you only stop by Wing’s World now and then you might not know my connection to the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC. I’m no biologist; I just grew up there. Literally. My sisters and I roamed the building back when no one knew about it nor worried about little kids roaming among the other primates.

See, I chose my parents wisely. Not only are they largely responsible for Carolina Friends School, my dad’s also the one who turned my hometown into the largest home for lemurs, anywhere in the world outside of Madagascar.

If you’re ever in central North Carolina, you can see for yourself–in a guided tour; sorry, no more roaming. But if you don’t get the chance, here’s a glimpse of how it all began, 50 years ago:

What else can I say? Congrats, lemurs. Congrats, Duke. Way to go, Dad.