Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

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Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (born September 13, 1931)[1] is an American author. She has published fiction and non-fiction books and articles on animal behavior, Paleolithic life, and the !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert.


Thomas is the daughter of anthropologist Lorna Marshall and Laurence K. Marshall, co-founder of the Raytheon Corporation, and the sister of ethnographic filmmaker John Marshall.[2] She grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[1] After beginning undergraduate studies at Smith College, Thomas took a break to travel in Africa with her family and later completed a degree in English from Radcliffe College.[2] Between 1950 and 1956, she took part in three expeditions to live with and study the Ju/'hoansi (!Kung Bushmen) of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana.[3] During these trips, Thomas kept a journal which she later drew on when writing her first book, The Harmless People.[1] She later drew on this experience in her fiction, depicting the life of paleolithic hunter gatherers in the novels Reindeer Moon[4] and The Animal Wife

A popular success and New York Times bestseller,[2] her book The Hidden Life of Dogs[5] also drew criticism from some in the scientific and dog training communities for Thomas' observational methods and analysis.[2][6] Thomas wrote a follow-up book, The Social Life of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company, as well as books on feline and deer behavior. She also contributes, along with Sy Montgomery, to a column called "Tamed/Untamed" in the Boston Globe.

Ms. Thomas has long made her home in Peterborough, NH. With proceeds from her bestselling book about dogs, she donated land for Peterborough's first town beach at Cunningham Pond, where canines of town residents are always welcome. She served on the town's Select Board for 15 years.[7]



Ethology and animal culture



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Reiten, Linda. "Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall". Encyclopedia of Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 McCarthy, Susan (June 27, 2000). "Elizabeth Marshall Thomas". Salon.com. Retrieved November 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall (1989). The harmless people (Rev. ed., 2nd Vintage Books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. pp. 'About the Author'. ISBN 067972446X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 'Reindeer Moon', Review, Publisher's Weekly, (1986(
  5. Polly Devlin, Book Review: Absolutely mad about barking: 'The Hidden Life of Dogs', The Guardian, 21 May 1994
  6. Adler, Jerry; Teresa Namuth (1 November 1993). "The (secret) world of dogs". Newsweek. 122 (18).CS1 maint: date and year (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/cunningham-pond#_

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