Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
John Crook

John Crook

Discussion
Ask a question about 'John Crook'
Start a new discussion about 'John Crook'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
John Hurrell Crook, BSc, PhD, DSc (27 November 1930 – 15 July 2011), was a British ethologist
Ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

 who filled a pivotal role in British primatology
Primatology
Primatology is the scientific study of primates. It is a diverse discipline and researchers can be found in academic departments of anatomy, anthropology, biology, medicine, psychology, veterinary sciences and zoology, as well as in animal sanctuaries, biomedical research facilities, museums and zoos...

.

As Reader
Reader (academic rank)
The title of Reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth nations like Australia and New Zealand denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship...

 in Ethology (animal behaviour) in the Psychology Department of Bristol University, he led a research group studying social and reproductive behaviour in birds and primates throughout the 1970s-80s, turning to the socio-psychological anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

 of Himalayan peoples in the 1990s. In his later years he was the Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship
Western Chan Fellowship
The Western Chan Fellowship is an organisation of lay Buddhists. It was formed in 1997 and registered as a charity in 1998. It was based on a network of local groups which formed following the first teaching visit to the UK in 1989 of the Venerable Chan Master Dr Sheng-yen...

.

Early life


He was educated at Oakmount School, Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 and Sherborne School
Sherborne School
Sherborne School is a British independent school for boys, located in the town of Sherborne in north-west Dorset, England. It is one of the original member schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference....

, Dorset.

He completed his National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 in Hong Kong, where he first encountered Chinese Zen (Chan)
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

 Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.

Academic career


Crook was a pioneer in the early development of socio-ecology, adding this dimension to ethology which was then dominated by the ideas of Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch...

. His student paper on the gulls of Southampton Water
Southampton Water
Southampton Water is a tidal estuary north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight in England. The city of Southampton lies at its most northerly point. Along its salt marsh-fringed western shores lie the New Forest villages of Hythe and "the waterside", Dibden Bay, and the Esso oil refinery at Fawley...

 while at University College, Southampton, led to his doctoral study at Jesus College, Cambridge
Jesus College, Cambridge
Jesus College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The College was founded in 1496 on the site of a Benedictine nunnery by John Alcock, then Bishop of Ely...

 of the weaver birds (Ploceinae) of West Africa, supervised by William Thorpe
William Homan Thorpe
William Homan Thorpe FRS was Professor of Animal Ethology at the University of Cambridge, and a significant British zoologist, ethologist and ornithologist....

 and Robert Hinde
Robert Hinde
Robert Aubrey Hinde CBE FRS FBA is the Emeritus Royal Society Research Professor of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly the master of St. John's College, Cambridge. He is the chair of British Pugwash...

. This was followed by further research in India, the Seychelles Islands and East Africa. His theoretical interpretation subsequently contributed to David Lack
David Lack
David Lambert Lack FRS, was a British evolutionary biologist who made contributions to ornithology, ecology and ethology. His book on the finches of the Galapagos Islands was a landmark work.- Early life :...

’s discussion of the behavioural component in avian population research. His fieldwork was further supported by laboratory experimentation on the endocrinal basis for the behaviour observed in the field.

After moving to Bristol University, he collaborated with Professor K.R.L. Hall in establishing a centre for primate studies, extending socio-ecological principles to primates, supervising doctoral projects and leading field research in Ethiopia on the Gelada Baboon and in Morocco on the Barbary Macaque
Barbary Macaque
The Barbary Macaque , or Common macaque, is a macaque with no tail. Found in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco with a small population, of unknown origin, in Gibraltar, the Barbary Macaque is one of the best-known Old World monkey species. Besides humans, they are the only primates that...

, subsequently developed by Robin Dunbar
Robin Dunbar
Robin Ian MacDonald Dunbar is a British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist and a specialist in primate behaviour. He is currently Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and the Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Oxford and the...

 and John Deag respectively.

His year as Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences is an American interdisciplinary research body in Stanford, California focusing on the social sciences and humanities . Fellows are elected in a closed process, to spend a period of residence at the Center, released from other duties...

 at Stanford University in California introduced him to the new techniques of humanistic psychotherapy. On return to Bristol, his students requested him to demonstrate these methods, leading to the creation of the Bristol Encounter Centre and to his teaching of the subject widely in the UK, especially based on workshops run at his retreat centre in mid Wales.

In 1977 Crook led an expedition to Zanskar
Zanskar
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum...

 in the Ladakh
Ladakh
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent...

 Himalayas, a pilot study focussing on polyandrous marriage. For several years, he and colleagues led further expeditions studying the geology, agriculture, social and family life and monastic practices in this remote, high-altitude region. He later returned with James Low
James Low
James Low played association football for Newcastle United at right-wing. He played 123 games and scored 8 goals. He was at the club from 1921 to 1928...

, a Tibetologist fluent in the texts and language, to study the lives of Buddhist hermits in the mountains.

Retiring early, he began practicing Zen Buddhism in intensive retreats taught in New York by Chan Master Sheng Yen of Dharma Drum Monastery, Taiwan, who in 1993 transmitted to him the authority to teach Chinese Zen. Forming the Western Chan Fellowship
Western Chan Fellowship
The Western Chan Fellowship is an organisation of lay Buddhists. It was formed in 1997 and registered as a charity in 1998. It was based on a network of local groups which formed following the first teaching visit to the UK in 1989 of the Venerable Chan Master Dr Sheng-yen...

 with colleagues, Crook developed a programme of retreats adapted to Western Zen practitioners.

Crook published around a hundred scientific papers in ornithology
Ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

, ethology and evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

, and several books focussing on consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 and Zen practice. His last work was World Crisis and Buddhist Humanism (New Age Books, Delhi 2009).

He died on 15 July 2011, shortly after a gathering of many former students and colleagues in Somerset to celebrate his life. Dr Innes Cuthill, Professor of Behavioural Ecology at Bristol University, described him as "a pivotal figure in the rise of British primatology and socio-ecology".

Honours

  • Osman Hill Medal. Primate Society of Great Britain. 1992.
  • Fellow. Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
    Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
    The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences is an American interdisciplinary research body in Stanford, California focusing on the social sciences and humanities . Fellows are elected in a closed process, to spend a period of residence at the Center, released from other duties...

    , Stanford University. 1968-69.
  • Honour plaque. Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages
    Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages
    The Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages is a Government-supported organization dedicated to the promotion of regional languages, art and culture including theatre....

    . 2003.

Publications: Books by John H. Crook

  • John H. Crook (Editor.), Social behaviour in Birds and Mammals: Essays on the Social Ethology of Animals and Man. Academic. 1970.
  • John H. Crook and R. P. Michael, Comparative Ecology and Behaviour of Primates. Academic Press Inc, 1973. ISBN 978-0124934504
  • John H. Crook, The Evolution of Human Consciousness. Oxford University Press, 1980. ISBN 978-0198571872
  • John H. Crook, Catching a Feather on a Fan: Zen Retreat with Master Sheng Yen. Element Books, 1991. ISBN 978-1852301941
  • John H. Crook and David Fontana, Space in Mind: East-West Psychology & Contemporary Buddhism. Thorsons/Element, 1993. ISBN 9781852301545
  • John H. Crook and Henry Osmaston, Himalayan Buddhist Villages: Environment, Resources, Society and Religious Life in Zangskar, Ladakh. Bristol Classical Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0862923860
  • John H. Crook and James Low, The Yogins of Ladakh: A Pilgrimage Among the Hermits of the Buddhist Himalayas. Motilal Banarsidass, 1997. ISBN 978-8120814622
  • John H. Crook, Hilltops of the Hong Kong Moon. Minerva. 1997.
  • John H. Crook, Illuminating Silence. Watkins. London. 2002.
  • John H. Crook, Simon Child, Zarko Andricevic, Max Kalin, and Master Sheng-yen. Chan Comes West. North Atlantic Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1556435430
  • John H. Crook, The Koans of Layman John. Lulu. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4092-6766-9
  • John H. Crook, World Crisis and Buddhist Humanism. End Games: Collapse or Renewal of Civilisation. New Age Books, 2009. ISBN 9788178223254

External links