Jordi Sabater Pi

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Jordi Sabater Pi (August 2, 1922 - August 5, 2009) was a Catalan primatologist and worldwide specialist in ethology (the study of animal behavior) and the discoverer of cultural behaviors of several species, including the use of tools by chimpanzees. During the 1960s he discovered Snowflake, a very rare albino gorilla that used to live in the zoo of Barcelona.

Sabater Pi was born in Barcelona. He was professor of Ethology at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Barcelona and pioneered the study of animal behaviour and primatology in Spain. His line of work has been continued inside and outside the University of Barcelona by several of his disciples, such as Joaquim J. Veà Baró, Matthew Escobar Aliaga, and Montserrat Colell Mimó.

As a sign of his commitment to chimpanzees, and prompted by the finding of their proximity (both genetically and behavioural) with humans, and the threats hanging over their habitats, Sabater Pi once said that the decline in population and, in the case of some subspecies, their near extinction, was comparable to genocide among human beings. Since the initial years of the Twenty First century, professor Jordi Sabater Pi has clearly taken sides in favour of the protection and conservation of primates and he gives support to projects such as the Proyecto Gran Simio in Spain or Fundación Mona in Girona.

A nature enthusiast, Jordi Sabater Pi was exceptionally passionate about his work. One of his loves was going out on expeditions to draw; he was known for producing numerous paintings which featured animals and nature as a primary focus.


  • Etología de la vivienda humana: de los nidos de gorilas y chimpancés a la vivienda humana. Labor, 1985. ISBN 978-84-335-1739-5.
  • El chimpancé y los orígenes de la cultura. Barcelona. Anthropos. 1992 (3rd. edition). ISBN 978-84-7658-356-2.
  • Gorilas y chimpancés del África Occidental. México. Fondo de Cultura Económica. 1993 (2nd. edition).
  • El traç de la natura. Jordi Sabater Pi y Xavier Duran. Edicions 62, Barcelona, 2001. ISBN 978-84-297-4835-2.
  • Clark Desmond J.; Veá i Baró, J. J.; Serrallonga Alset, J.; Turbón Borrega, D. (2003), Primates: origin, evolution and behaviour: homage to Jordi Sabater Pi, Edicions Del Parc Científic de Barcelona. ISBN 978-84-607-6636-0.

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