Jane Goodall and her research, observations and discoveries
opened avenues for the scientific understanding regarding the
evolution of man. A world-renowned authority on chimpanzees, she
found parallel traits that humans and chimps share in terms of
intelligence, group behavior, in anger and grief and in cavorting
with other animal colonies. All these scientific observations
have been carefully documented, having lived with chimps for over
30 years in the jungles of the Gombe Game Reserve in Africa.
Dr. Jane Goodall in her first year at Gombe befriended the chimp
community by using techniques alien to many but an effective tool
in her ongoing research. She observed that chimps fashion tools
to coax termites out of their habitat, disproving the belief that
only humans are capable of such activity. Further she found out
that chimps hunt for food such as bushpigs, small rodents and
other animals, revising the theories that chimps are basically
vegetarians and fruit eaters. Upon hearing these observations,
her mentor Louis Leakey blurted out saying "now we must redefine
tool, redefine man, or accept chimpanzees as humans".
In 1985, Jane Goodall published her anthropological and conservation
research covering over 25 years of conscientious hard work. The
report helped us better understand the true relationship between
creatures and the effects of habitat on a chimp's individuality
and group behavior. It also had a terrific effect on humans because
it gave us insights on the importance of wildlife conservation for
all life forms in this planet.
It is hard to define the contribution that Dr. Jane Goodall made
to the science on primatology. Her research defied scientific norms
by assigning names instead of just numbers to the Gombe chimps and
espoused the idea that animals have distinct personalities, minds
and emotions. Also her discovery that chimpanzees engage in a primitive
form of "brutal warfare" astounded unbelieving colleagues.
Only to be proven right, when in early 1974, a "four-year war"
started in Gombe, a first documented record of long-term conflict
among non-human primates.
Dame Dr. Jane Goodall (elevated by Queen Elizabeth II, the equivalent
to knighthood), DBE, is a UN Messenger of Peace and is also an English
primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist. She was born in London,
England on April 3, 1934. Jane Goodall at age 12 moved with her
mother to Bournemouth, England after her parents divorced. Her interest
in animals led to her association with Louis Leakey, first as his
assistant/secretary that eventually led to her becoming the Scientific
Director of the Gombe Stream National Park in Africa.
Dr. Jane Goodall received her PhD in Ethology from Cambridge University
in 1965. Among the honors bestowed upon Jane Goodall are the Medal
of Tanzania; National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal; Japan's
prestigious Kyoto Awards; the Prince of Asturias Award for technical
and scientific research 2003; the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life
Science, and the Gandhi/King Award for non-violence. She also had
a string of honorary doctorate degrees from numerous universities
Aside from the various journals that she authored and published,
she also founded the Jane Goodall Institute that is dedicated to
Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation to provide continuing
support for field research on wild chimpanzees.
Rumor Has It …
Jane Goodall had a torrid affair with one of the warring apes named
Bongo. One day in the jungle, Bongo became insanely jealous when
he spotted Jane sneaking out of a treetop home from some unknown
When confronted by the chimp as to the identity of this male, Jane
Goodall was at first denying the existence of an alternative relationship.
But, Bongo finally cracked her and she spilled the beans. Jane Goodall
finally confessed to the ape, "I don't know his full name.
All I know is that he calls himself 'Me Tarzan'".
Written by Kevin Lepton