About Dr. Jane Goodall

In the summer of 1960, 26-year-old Jane Goodall arrived on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa to study the area’s wild chimpanzee population.
Although at the time it was unheard of for a woman to venture into the African wilderness, Jane persisted as the trip meant the fulfillment of her childhood dream.
Jane’s work in Tanzania would prove to be more successful than anyone could have possibly imagined.

Must We Redefine Man?

At first, the chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park fled whenever they noticed Jane. Then gradually they allowed her to come closer and closer. In October 1960 Jane observed two chimps, David Graybeard and Goliath, stripping leaves off twigs in order to make tools for fishing termites from a nest. This was truly a ground breaking moment for science as until that moment scientists thought that only humans were capable of making and using tools. In fact, humans were known as “man the tool maker”. This discovery lead to one of Jane’s many accolades “the woman who redefined man”.

“Now we must redefine tool, redefine man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.” - Professor Louis Leakey

Dr.-Jane-Goodall---Australia - Jane Goodall Institute AustraliaTool Use

In October, 1960, Jane Goodall found a chimp that she had named David Greybeard squatting on a termite mound. Not wanting to startle him, she stopped some distance away and could not see clearly what he was doing. From a distance, he seemed to be poking pieces of grass into the mound, then raising them to his mouth. When David had finished, Jane approached the mound. She inserted one of the abandoned grasses into a hole in the mound and found that the termites bit onto it with their jaws. David had been using the stem as a tool to "fish" for insects!

Soon after this discovery, Jane observed David and other chimps actually picking leafy twigs then stripping the leaves so that the twig was a suitable tool. This modification of an object to make a tool signifies the beginning of tool making. Until that time scientists thought that only humans used and made tools; our species was defined as "Man the Tool Maker." When Jane's research mentor Professor Louis Leakey received an excited telegram from Jane describing her discoveries he made his infamous response: "Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans."

Eventually it was discovered that the Gombe chimpanzees use objects — stems, twigs, branches, leaves, and rocks — in nine different ways to accomplish tasks associated with feeding, drinking, cleaning themselves, investigating out-of-reach objects, and as weapons — flailing branches and throwing rocks as missiles. In communities outside Gombe, chimpanzees use objects for different purposes. These behaviours, passed down from one generation to the next through observational learning have been regarded as primitive cultures.

Effect on Primatology

In 1965, Jane was awarded her Ph.D in Ethology from Cambridge University. Shortly afterwards she returned to Tanzania to continue her research and establish Gombe Stream Research Centre. Throughout many years at Gombe, she made multiple discoveries that radically changed and enriched the field of primatology:

  • Chimpanzees form lasting family relationships and support one another even if they are not related. In 1987 Jane observed adolescent Spindle ‘adopting’ three-year-old orphan Mel, even though the infant was not a close relative.
  • Chimpanzees engage in a primitive form of brutal “warfare.” In 1974, a ‘four-year war’ began at Gombe, the first record of long-term warfare in non-human primates. Members of the Kasakela group systematically killed members of the “Kahama” splinter group.
  • Chimpanzees have surprising courtship patterns. Males take females into consortships in remote areas for days to months.
  • Chimpanzees actively hunt and eat other animals. This evidence disproved previous theories that chimpanzees were primarily vegetarians and fruit eaters who only occasionally supplemented their diet with insects and small rodents.

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and Jane Goodall Institute Australia (JGIA)

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and
The Jane Goodall Institute Australia (JGIA)

In 1977, Dr Goodall realised that to best help her beloved chimpanzees, she would have to leave the forest. She founded The Jane Goodall Institute to provide ongoing support for field research on wild chimpanzees and fight to protect the habitat in which they live.

Today, there are JGI chapters in 35 countries around the world all working to support Dr Goodall’s vision and legacy. At JGIA, our pursue is to “inspire actions that connect people with animals and our shared environment”. JGI is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa and the Roots & Shoots education program in nearly 100 countries.

Dr Jane Goodall’s Honours

Dr Goodall’s many honours include: the Medal of Tanzania, the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal, Dr Jane Goodall’s Honours
Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research 2003, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and the Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence. In April 2002, Secretary-General Annan named Dr Goodall a United Nations “Messenger of Peace.” Messengers help mobilize the public to become involved in work that makes the world a better place. They advocate in a variety of areas: poverty eradication, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, disarmament, community development and environmentalism.

In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II named Dr Goodall a Dame of the British Empire, the equivalent of a knighthood. Dr Goodall has received honorary doctorates from numerous universities, including: Utrecht University, Holland; Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich; Stirling University, Scotland; Providence University, Taiwan; University of Guelph and Ryerson University in Canada; Buffalo University, Tufts University and others.

Dr Jane Goodall’s PublicationsDr Jane Goodall’s Publications

Dr Goodall has written many books including two overviews of her work at Gombe—In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window; two autobiographies in letters; and books based on her spirit of hope, Reasons for Hope, Hope for Animals and their World and Harvest for Hope. Her many children’s books include Grub: the Bush Baby, Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours and My Life with the Chimpanzees.

The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behaviour is recognised as the definitive work on chimpanzees and is the culmination of Jane Goodall’s scientific career. She has also been the subject of numerous television documentaries.

Today, Dr Goodall spends much of her time lecturing, sharing her message of hope for the future and encouraging young people to make a difference in their world.

Gombe National ParkDr. Jane Goodall - Gombe National Park

In 1960, Jane Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Reserve in what was then Tanganyika. She was sent by Louis Leakey to study the behaviour of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. In her early years at Gombe, Jane found that chimps share behaviours and emotions once thought to be unique to humans. Chimps make and use tools for a variety of purposes, are capable of cognitive reasoning and problem solving, and show emotions such as joy and sadness, fear and despair, love and empathy. They also display behaviours which indicate true altruism and have vivid personalities.

Jane was initially accompanied by her mother, Vanne (pronounced "Van") Goodall, because the British authorities were so shocked at the thought of a young girl going to live with animals in the jungle. Initially they refused permission for such an ‘outrageous’ idea, but eventually agreed that she could go with a companion. Her mother volunteered - and made an invaluable contribution to the long-term project with her simple clinic (four poles and a roof) for the local fishermen. This project also helped to establish an excellent relationship with the local people.

It took many months before the chimps got over their initial fear of the strange white ape that appeared so suddenly. Eventually one adult male, whom Jane named David Greybeard, lost his fear. He even went to her camp to feast on oil palm nuts, and "stole" some bananas. Gradually his calm acceptance of Jane convinced the other chimps that she did not present a threat.

Throughout more than 55 years of continual observation, Jane and her fellow researchers and assistants have maintained a philosophy of noninterference (except for administrating medication to sick chimps) and building of trust. A great deal of behavioural and demographic data has been collected. Undergraduate students, graduate and postdoctoral researchers and field assistants have all contributed to the wealth of knowledge gained from this extraordinary long-term study.

Today the long-term monitoring of the Gombe chimpanzees and baboons is conducted by a highly skilled team of scientists and field assistants, from both Tanzania and abroad..

References
Goodall, Jane. 1971 In the Shadow of Man. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Goodall, Jane. 1986 The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior Boston: Bellknap Press of the Harvard University Press.
Goodall, Jane. 1988 My Life with the Chimpanzees New York: Byron Press.
Goodall, Jane. 1990 Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Wallauer, Bill. 1997
Another Well-Deserved Tribute to Fifi The Jane Goodall Institute World Report. Volume III, pp. 6-8.

Jane's Journey

April 3, 1934

Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall is born in London, England to Mortimer, an engineer and Vanne, an author. Jane loves animals as a child. When she is just over one year old, her father gives her a toy chimpanzee, in honour of a baby chimpanzee born at the London Zoo. Jane loves the toy and names the chimpanzee Jubilee, carrying it with her everywhere.

Today
Childhood
Childhood

1930s

Jane dreams of living in Africa to watch and write about animals. Although this is an unusual goal for a girl at the time, Jane’s mother encourages her, saying “Jane, if you really want something, and if you work hard, take advantage of the opportunities, and never give up, you will somehow find a way.” After the war, Jane’s parents divorce.

Childhood
Childhood
Youth

1939 - 1945

Jane’s childhood is a happy one with much time spent playing and exploring outside her family’s home in Bournemouth, England. But the Second World War is raging and Jane’s father is in the army as an engineer, disappearing from his daughter’s life for a time.

Childhood
Youth
Youth

1952-1956

When Jane graduates from high school in 1952, she cannot afford to go to university. So Jane learns to be a secretary and works for a time at Oxford University typing documents. Later, she works for a London film making company, choosing music for documentaries. In May 1956, Jane’s friend Clo Mange invites Jane to her family’s farm in Kenya. Jane quits her London job, moves back home and works as a waitress to save enough money for boat fare.

Youth
Youth
In Africa

April 2, 1957

On April 2, 1957, at the age of 23, Jane travels to Kenya by boat. She has a wonderful time seeing Africa and meeting new people. Most importantly, she meet the famous anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis S. B. Leakey. Jane manages to impress Leakey with her knowledge of Africa and its wildlife to the extent that he hires her as his assistant. She travels with Leakey and his wife, archaeologist Mary Leakey, to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania on a fossil-hunting expedition.

Youth
In Africa
Gombe

1959

When Leakey and Jane begin a study of wild chimpanzees on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, British authorities are resistant to the idea of a young woman living among wild animals in Africa. They finally agree to Leakey’s proposal when Jane’s mother Vanne volunteers to accompany her daughter for the first three months.

In Africa
Gombe
Gombe

July 14, 1960

On July 14, 1960, Jane and Vanne arrive on the shores of Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in western Tanzania.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1960s

Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe is not easy. The animals run away from Jane in fear. With patience and determination she searched the forest every day, deliberately trying not to get too close to the chimpanzees too soon. Gradually the chimpanzees accept her presence.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

October 30, 1960

Jane observes meat-eating chimpanzees for the first time October 30, 1960. Later, she sees the chimpanzees hunt for meat. These observations disprove the widely held belief that chimpanzees are vegetarian.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

November 4, 1960

On November 4, 1960, Jane observes David Greybeard and Goliath making tools to extract termites from their mounds. They would select a thin branch from a tree, strip the leaves and push the branch into the termite mound. After a few seconds they would pull out the termite-covered stick and pick off the tasty termites with their lips.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1960s

Tool making becomes one of Jane’s most important discoveries. Until that time, only humans were thought to create tools. On hearing of Jane’s observation, Leakey famously says: “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1962

Jane’s work in Gombe becomes more widely known and in 1962 she is accepted at Cambridge University as a Ph.D. candidate, one of very few people to be admitted without a university degree. Some scholars and scientists give Jane a cold reception and criticise her for giving the chimpanzees names. “It would have been more scientific to give them numbers,” they say. Jane has to defend an idea that might now seem obvious: that chimpanzees have emotions, minds and personalities.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

August 1963

National Geographic decides to sponsor Jane’s work and sends photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick to document Jane’s life in Gombe. In August 1963, Jane publishes her first article in National Geographic, “My Life Among Wild Chimpanzees.”

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1964

Van Lawick and Jane fall in love and marry in 1964. They have one son, Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick, known to family and friends as “Grub.”

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1965

Jane earns her Ph.D. in ethology (the study of animal behaviour) in 1965. Also in 1965, National Geographic provides funds for the construction of aluminum buildings at Gombe and with these first permanent structures on the site, the Gombe Stream Research Center is born.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1975

Jane and Hugo divorce amicably in 1974. In 1975, Jane marries Derek Bryceson, member of the Tanzanian parliament and Director of Tanzania’s National Parks.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1977

In 1977, Jane founds the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1984

In 1984, Jane begins groundwork for Chimpanzoo, an international research program of the Jane Goodall Institute dedicated to the study of captive chimpanzees and to the improvement of their lives through research, education and enrichment.

Gombe
Gombe
Gombe

1986

During November of 1986, at a scientific conference in Chicago organised around the release of Jane’s scholarly work The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behaviour, Jane and fellow attendees are stunned as consecutive speakers make clear the extent of habitat destruction across Africa and its threat to chimpanzee survival. Jane leaves the conference knowing that she must leave Gombe behind, and work to conserve wild chimpanzees.

Gombe
Gombe
After Gombe

1991

In 1991, Jane and 16 Tanzanian students found Roots & Shoots, the Jane Goodall Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian education program for youth.

Gombe
After Gombe
After Gombe

1994

The Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education project (TACARE; pronounced “take-care”) is launched in 1994. This program helps communities situated around Lake Tanganyika initiate sustainable agriculture, micro-finance initiatives and conservation education as a means to protect local habitat and animal species.

After Gombe
After Gombe
After Gombe

April 16, 2002

On April 16, 2002, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appoints Jane to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

After Gombe
After Gombe
After Gombe

February 20, 2004

Jane is made a Dame of the British Empire (the equivalent of a knighthood) on February 20, 2004 during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.

After Gombe
After Gombe
Today

2015

2015 marked the 55th anniversary of the founding of Gombe Stream National Park, home to the most famous chimpanzees on earth. Because of Dr. Goodall and the dedicated researchers who have since participated in making additional discoveries, the lives of these chimpanzees have been more thoroughly documented, photographed, and filmed than any other wild animals.

After Gombe
Today
Today

2017

Jane continues her work today by travelling an average of 300 days per year speaking in packed auditoriums and school gymnasiums about the threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crisis, and her reasons for hope that we will ultimately solve the problems that we have imposed on the earth. Jane continually urges her audiences to recognise their personal power and responsibility to effect positive change through consumer action, lifestyle change and activism.

Today
Today
Today

2017

The research that Dr. Goodall put in motion so many years ago is as vibrant as ever and now plays an important role not only in helping us understand chimpanzees, but also informing the Jane Goodall Institute’s conservation efforts in Western Tanzania, and across the entire chimpanzee range.

Today
Today
Today
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