Dr. Anne Innis Dagg: The Jane Goodall of Giraffes

February 05, 2021

Written by: Alicen Ricard

Source: Wikipedia

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg is a Canadian zoologist who is known for studying giraffes. She was born in 1933 in Toronto.  Dr. Innis Dagg wrote a memoir in 2006 about her trip to Africa to study giraffes in the 50s called Pursuing Giraffe: a 1950s Adventure. In 2018, a documentary was made about her called The Woman Who Loved Giraffes.  A woman in her field was rare, and lots of people she encountered thought it was strange that she was unwed and had travelled by herself. 

She was also known for studying animal behaviour. As well as giraffes, she studied camels, primates, and Canadian wildlife. She has written scientific papers on various different topics such as homosexuality, mammal behaviour, sociobiology, feminism, sexism at Universities, and the rights of animals. She has also published books on some of these topics. 

Sexism was pretty common and Dr. Innis Dagg experienced a lot of it. She has done plenty of research on gender bias, particulary in terms of nepotism. She was passed up for promotion at the University of Guelph. She should have been given tenure but she wasn’t because she lived outside of Guelph and because she wasn’t involved in the community. When asked if he regretted not giving her tenure after she rose to fame with her book and the documentary about her life and giraffe research, the Dean who denied her tenue said he didn’t regret it. She was an assistant professor with the Department of Zoology from 1968 to 1972. She stayed on with the university after that in a few different roles, even though she was denied tenure. 

She is known as the Jane Goodall of giraffes, but she isn’t as well known as she should be. A lot of people didn’t even know who she is until the documentary about her in 2018. You can read more about the documentary about her here


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