Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Biography of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (born September 13, 1931) 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. She grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. 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. 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. During these trips, Thomas kept a journal which she later drew on when writing her first book, The Harmless People.

A popular success and New York Times bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs also drew criticism from some in the scientific and dog training communities for Thomas' observational methods and analysis. 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.

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