Sarah Boysen

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Sarah Till "Sally" Boysen (born March 5, 1949) is a professor of psychology at Ohio State University.[1] Boysen is a primate researcher and former Director of the Chimp Center at the university.[2] She was selected as the one of the top 50 women scientists by Discover magazine in 2002.[3]

Early life[edit]

Boysen was born on March 5, 1949 in Sandusky, Ohio.[2] She has two younger brothers and two older sisters.


Boysen primarily studies chimpanzees.[4] She established the Comparative Cognition Project at the Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center in 1983.[5] Boysen's research focuses on chimpanzees' cognitive abilities in relation to intelligence, linguistics and neuroscience.[3] Her current research topics include animal cognitive development, social behaviors, cognition, the last of which examines animals' "numerical competence" and ability to count. Boysen has also studied how captive lowland gorillas use tools.

Boysen has been the subject of many documentaries, including ones on the BBC, National Geographic Frontiers, NOVA, and Nature. She has also been featured in numerous Discovery Channel specials centered around her chimpanzee studies.[6]

Shutdown of Centre[edit]

In February 2006, her research center was shut down by Ohio State University.[7] The university cited lack of external funds to support the high costs of maintaining the center. The chimpanzees in the center were relocated to Primates, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas.[8] Boysen filed a restraining order in February 2006 to stop the chimps from being moved to Texas, but it was denied.[9] Boysen claimed that Primates, Inc. did not provide proper care for the chimpanzees, and she wanted them to be sent to Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana instead.[9] After the relocation, two of the chimpanzees died.[9]

In response to the chimpanzees dying, she filed a federal lawsuit against the university, which was unsuccessful.[10] However, the remaining chimpanzees were relocated to Chimp Haven after the initial deaths.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sally (Sarah) Boysen". The Ohio State University. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Sarah Till Boysen". Muskingum University. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b "The 50 Most Important Women in Science". Discover. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  4. ^ "What are they thinking?". Scientific American. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Sarah Boysen". Writers Net. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Sarah Boysen - writer profile from the WritersNet published writers and authors directory". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  7. ^ Vitale, Robert. "Chimp expert Sally Boysen reinvigorated five years after OSU shuts down her research center". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center". Project R&R. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Grens, Kerry. "Judge to rule on chimp lawsuit". The Scientist. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Dr. Sarah Boysen v. Dr. Karen Holbrook et al" (PDF). The Scientist. 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2014.