Frances Burton

Frances Burton with a monkey on her head
Professor Emerita

Convinced that non-human primates can show us something about how we got to be human, Frances Burton has studied monkeys in urban settings where they are forced to adapt to the human environment. The first anthropology doctorate through the programme at CUNY, she taught at the U of T for 40 some years, and was appointed to full professorship at what is considered a very young age. She has published three books, the most recent on the effect of firelight in the process of becoming human. The importance of fire as a cultural spur was extensively discussed at that time, but no-one had considered the role of the light of fire and its effects. She was part of the young primatologists who found and disseminated knowledge on the cultures and cognitive abilities of non-human primates. She began her research career studying reproductive processes in primates, and was the first primatologist to discover that orgasm does occur in monkeys. She is happily retired, and living in Cobourg.