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Goodall, Jane

Jane Goodall

Born: April 3, 1934
London, England

English primatologist and scientist

Jane Goodall was a pioneering English primatologist (a person who studies primates, which is a group of animals that includes human beings, apes, monkeys, and others). Her methods of studying animals in the wild, which emphasized patient observation over long periods of time of both social groups and individual animals, changed not only how chimpanzees (a kind of ape) as a species are understood, but also how studies of many different kinds of animals are carried out.

Childhood

The older of two sisters, Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England, into a middle-class British family. Her father, Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, was an engineer. Her mother, Vanna (Joseph) Morris-Goodall, was a successful novelist. When Goodall was about two years old her mother gave her a stuffed toy chimpanzee, which Goodall still possesses to this day. She was a good student, but she had more interest in being outdoors and learning about animals. Once she spent five hours in a hen-house so she could see how a hen lays an egg. She loved animals so much that by the time she was ten or eleven she dreamed of living with animals in Africa. Her mother encouraged Goodall's dream, which eventually became a reality.

When Goodall was eighteen she completed secondary school and began working. She worked as a secretary, as an assistant editor in a film studio, and as a waitress, trying to save enough money to make her first trip to Africa.

An African adventure begins

Jane Goodall finally went to Africa when she was twenty-three years old. In 1957 she sailed to Mombasa on the east African coast, where she met anthropologist Louis Leakey (19031972), who would become her mentor, or teacher. In Africa, Leakey and his wife, Mary, had discovered what were then the oldest known human remains. These discoveries supported Leakey's claim that the origins of the human species were in Africa, not in Asia or Europe as many had believed.

Leakey hoped that studies of the primate species most closely related to human beingschimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutanswould shed light on the behavior of the human animal's ancestors. He chose Goodall for this work because he believed that as a woman she would be more patient and careful than a male observer, and that as someone with little formal training she would be more likely to describe what she saw rather than what she thought she should be seeing.

Living among chimps

In July 1960, twenty-six-year-old Jane Goodall set out for the first time for Gombe National Park in southeastern Africa to begin a study of the chimpanzees that lived in the forests along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. She had little formal training; still, she brought to her work her love of animals, a strong sense of determination, and a desire for adventure. She thought at the time that the study might take three years. She ended up staying for more than two decades.

In her earliest days at Gombe, Goodall worked alone or with native guides. She spent long hours working to gain the trust of the chimpanzees, tracking them through the dense forests and gradually moving closer and closer to the chimps until she could sit among thema feat that had not been achieved by other scientists. Her patience produced an amazing set of discoveries about the behaviors and social relations of chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees had been thought to be violent, aggressive animals with crude social arrangements. Researchers had given chimps numbers rather than names and had ignored the differences in personality, intelligence, and social skills that Goodall's studies revealed. Chimpanzees, Goodall showed, organized themselves in groups that had complex social structures. They were often loving and careful parents and also formed attachments to their peers. They hunted and ate meat. And they used simple toolstwigs or grasses that they stripped of leaves and used to get termites out of termite mounds. This discovery helped force scientists to give up their definition of human beings as the only animals that use tools.

In 1962 Leakey arranged for Goodall to work on a doctorate degree at Cambridge University, in England, which would give scientific weight to her discoveries. In 1965 she became the eighth person ever to receive a doctorate from Cambridge without having earned an undergraduate degree.

By 1964 the Gombe Stream Research Center had become the destination of choice for graduate students and other scientists wishing to study chimpanzees or to learn Goodall's methods. The general public was also learning about Goodall's work through a series of articles in National Geographic magazine and later through National Geographic television specials. In 1964 Goodall married Hugo Van Lawick, a Dutch wildlife photographer who had come to Gombe at the invitation of Leakey to take pictures for the magazine. Goodall's son by that marriage, Hugo (more often referred to as Grub), was her only child.

New discoveries

The 1970s saw changes in Goodall's understanding of the chimpanzees and in the way in which research was carried out at Gombe. In 1974 what Goodall referred to as a "war" broke out between two groups of chimpanzees. One group eventually killed many members of the other group. Goodall also witnessed a series of acts of infanticide (the killing of an infant) on the part of one of the older female chimps. These appearances of the darker side of chimpanzee behavior forced her to adjust her interpretation of these animals as being basically gentle and peace loving.

In May 1975 rebels from Zaire, Africa, kidnapped four research assistants from the research center. After months of talks, the assistants were returned. Because of the continued risk of kidnappings, almost all of the European and American researchers left Gombe. Goodall continued to carry out her work with the help of local people who had been trained to conduct research.

A chimp's true friend

Later Goodall turned her attention to the problem of captive chimpanzees. Because they closely resemble humans, chimpanzees have been widely used as laboratory animals to study human diseases. Goodall used her knowledge and fame to work to set limits on the number of animals used in such experiments and to convince researchers to improve the conditions under which the animals were kept. She also worked to improve conditions for zoo animals and for conservation of chimpanzee habitats (the places in the wild where chimps live). In 1986 she helped found the Committee for the Conservation and Care of Chimpanzees, an organization dedicated to these issues. She has even written children's books, The Chimpanzee Family Book and With Love, on the subject of treating animals kindly.

For her efforts Godall has received many awards and honors, among them the Gold Medal of Conservation from the San Diego Zoological Society, the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize, and the National Geographic Society Centennial Award. In 2000 she accepted the third Gandhi/King Award for Non Violence at the United Nations. Much of Goodall's current work is carried on by the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation, in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She does not spend much time in Africa anymore; rather, she gives speeches throughout the world and spends as many as three hundred days a year traveling.

For More Information

Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours. New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Goodall, Jane. My Life with the Wild Chimpanzees. New York: Pocket Books, 1988.

Haraway, Donna. Primate Visions. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Meachum, Virginia. Jane Goodall, Protector of Chimpanzees. Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1997.

Pratt, Paula Bryant. Jane Goodall. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1997.

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Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall (born 1934) was a pioneering woman primatologist. Her holistic methods of fieldwork, which emphasized patient observation over long periods of time of social groups and individual animals, transformed not only how chimpanzees as a species are understood but also how studies of many different kinds of animals are carried out.

In July of 1960, 26-year-old Jane Goodall set out for the first time for Gombe National Park in southeastern Africa to begin a study of the chimpanzees that lived in the forests along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Her mother traveled with her as officials thought it unseemly that a young, unmarried woman would set off on such a venture alone. She thought at the time that the study might take three years. She ended up staying for more than two decades.

Goodall seemed an unlikely candidate for such a task. The elder of two daughters, she had been born into a middle-class British family. Her father, Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, was an engineer. Her mother, Vanna (Joseph) Morris-Goodall, was a successful novelist. She had little formal training when she set out for Gombe, having worked previously as a secretary at Oxford and as an assistant editor in a documentary film studio in London. Otherwise, she brought to her work a life-long love of animals, a strong sense of determination and a desire for adventure.

This was not her first trip to Africa. In 1957 she had sailed to Mombasa on the East African coast where she met Louis Leakey, who would become her mentor. With his wife Mary, Leakey had discovered what were then the oldest known human remains. These discoveries substantiated Leakey's claim that the origins of the human species were in Africa, not in Asia or Europe as had been previously thought.

Leakey hoped that studies of the primate species most closely related to human beings—chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans—would shed light on the behavior of human ancestors. He chose Goodall because he believed that as a woman she would be more patient and careful than a male observer and that as someone with little formal training she would be more inclined to describe what she saw rather than what she thought she should be seeing.

In her earliest days at Gombe, Goodall worked alone or with native guides. She spent long hours working to gain the trust of the chimpanzees, tracking them through the dense forests and gradually moving closer and closer to her subjects until she could sit in their midst—something which had not been achieved by her predecessors. Her patience produced a stunning set of discoveries about the behaviors and social relations of her subjects. Chimpanzees had previously been thought to be violent, aggressive animals with crude social arrangements. Researchers had given their subjects numbers rather than names and had ignored the differences in personality, intelligence, and social acumen that Goodall's studies revealed. Chimpanzees, Goodall showed, organized themselves in bands that had complex social structures. They were often loving and careful parents and also formed attachments to their peers. They hunted and ate meat. And, perhaps most startling, they used primitive "tools"—twigs or grasses that they stripped of leaves and used to get termites out of termite mounds. This discovery helped force scientists to abandon their definition of homo sapiens as the only animals that use tools.

In 1962 Leakey arranged for Goodall to work on a Ph.D. at Cambridge University, which would give scientific legitimacy to her discoveries. Despite bitter disagreements with her adviser, who belonged to the older school of ethologists (people who study animal behavior), she managed to complete the necessary work in brief visits to England. In 1965 she became the eighth person ever to take a Ph.D. from Cambridge without having previously earned a B.A.

By 1964 the Gombe Stream Research Center had become the destination of choice for graduate students and other scientists wishing to study chimpanzees or to learn Goodall's methods. The general public was also becoming acquainted with Goodall's work through a series of articles in National Geographic magazine and later through National Geographic television specials. In 1964 Goodall married Hugo Van Lawick, a Dutch wildlife photographer who had come to Gombe at the invitation of Leakey to take pictures for the magazine. Goodall's son by that marriage, Hugo (more often referred to as "Grub"), was her only child.

The 1970s were marked both by changes in Goodall's understanding of the chimpanzees and by the way in which research was carried out at Gombe. In 1974 what Goodall referred to as a "war" broke out between two groups of chimpanzees. One group eventually succeeded in killing many members of the other group. Goodall also witnessed a series of acts of infanticide on the part of one of the mature female chimps. These revelations of the darker side of chimpanzee behavior forced her to revise her interpretation of these animals as being fundamentally gentle and peace-loving.

In May of 1975 four research assistants were kidnapped from the research center by Zairean rebels. After months of negotiations, the hostages were returned. Because of continued risk, almost all of the many European and American researchers left Gombe. Goodall continued to carry out her work with the help of local people who had been trained to conduct research.

Later, Goodall turned her attention to the plight of chimpanzees in captivity. Because of their close physiological and genetic resemblance to humans, chimpanzees have been widely used as laboratory animals to study human diseases such as AIDS. Goodall used her expertise and fame to lobby for limitations on the number of animals used in such experiments and to convince researchers to improve the conditions under which the animals are kept. She also worked to improve conditions for zoo animals and for conservation of chimpanzee habitats. In 1986 she helped found the Committee for the Conservation and Care of Chimpanzees—an organization dedicated to these issues.

For her efforts, Godall received a great many awards and honors, among them the Gold Medal of Conservation from the San Diego Zoological Society, the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize, the Schweitzer Medal of the Animal Welfare Institute, and the National Geographic Society Centennial Award. Much of Goodall's current work is carried on by the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation, in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Her advocacy of the ethical treatment of animals continues to the current day, and she has even written a children's book, The Chimpanzee Family Book, on the subject.

Further Reading

Goodall wrote a number of books about her experiences with the chimpanzees, including Through a Window (1990); My Life with the Wild Chimpanzees (1988); The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (1986); In the Shadow of Man (1971); and Visions of Caliban: On Chimpanzees and People (1993). For books that show her work in relation to that of other primatologists, see: Donna Haraway, Primate Visions (1989); Bettyann Kevles' Watching the Great Apes (1976); and Sy Montgomery, Walking with the Great Apes (1991).

National Geographic (no. 5, 1979).

American Scientist (Volume 75, number 6, 1987).

Montgomery, Sy, Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté (1991). □

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Goodall, Jane

Goodall, Jane

British Zoologist 1934-

Jane Goodall, the world's leading expert on chimpanzees, was born in London, England. Almost nothing was known about chimpanzees until Goodall conducted her field studies in East Africa. Her study of these animals in the wild has revealed that chimpanzees have many striking similarities to humans. They are our closest relatives in the animal world, having 98 percent of the same genes.

Goodall grew up on the southern coast of England. From earliest childhood, she was obsessed with animals, her favorite reading being Dr. Doolittle and Tarzan books. Goodall's unusual dream of going to Africa to live with animals was encouraged by her mother. Goodall attended secretarial school, and then got a job. When a friend invited her on a trip to Kenya, she raised money by working as a waitress. At the age of twenty-three, Goodall began her adventure, traveling to Kenya by boat. There she sought out Dr. Louis Leakey, a famous scientist who studied paleontology (the study of ancient life) and anthropology (the study of humans). She became Leakey's assistant, and he soon decided Goodall was the person he had been looking for to lead a study of wild chimpanzees in East Africa. Because the British authorities thought it unsafe for a young woman to live alone among wild animals in Africa, Goodall's mother Vanne agreed to accompany her for the first three months. In 1960, Goodall arrived at Gombe National Park in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).

In the beginning, the chimpanzees were afraid of the young woman who silently and patiently watched them. It took nearly six months for the chimpanzees to accept her presence, allowing Goodall to follow them on their daily travels through the forest. She named the chimpanzees and grew to love them. She made one important discovery after another. It was Goodall who first learned that chimpanzees make and use tools to obtain food and defend themselves. Previously, it was believed that only humans made tools. Goodall learned that chimpanzees hunt and are occasional meat eaters. She was also first to document their complex family relationships and emotional attachments.

Goodall left Africa to study ethology (the scientific study of animal behavior) at the University of Cambridge. When she received her Ph.D in 1965, she was one of very few candidates to receive a Ph.D. without first having an A.B. degree. She promptly returned to Tanzania to continue her field studies and establish the Gombe Stream Research Centre. Research at this facility is still being conducted to this day, mostly by Tanzanians.

Despite her intense studies, Goodall found the time to marry twice and raise a son, Hugo. She wrote many famous books including In the Shadow of Man (1971) and The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (1986). Goodall has received numerous awards, including the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize in 1984. In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, located in Washington D.C., to educate people about chimpanzees and their preservation.

Denise Prendergast

Bibliography

Muir, Hazel, ed. Larousse Dictionary of Scientists. New York: Larousse, 1994.

Internet Resources

The Jane Goodall Institute. <http://www.janegoodall.org>.

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"Goodall, Jane." Animal Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Goodall, Jane

Jane Goodall (gŏŏd´ôl), 1934–, English ethologist and primatologist. After working with Louis Leakey, she established (1960) a research camp in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve, a national park in what is now Tanzania, to study chimpanzee behavior. She kept meticulous records of the apes movements, interactions, and social organization. Among her many findings are that chimpanzees are capable of complex behavior patterns and emotional relationships, that they have the dexterity and intelligence to make and use tools, and that they hunt and eat meat. Becoming an active conservationist, in 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation in Silver Spring, Md. Later she established "Roots and Shoots," an international children's environmental education program. Her writings include My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees (1967), In the Shadow of Man (1967), The Chimpanzees of Gombe (1986), Reason for Hope (1999), and Hope for Animals and Their World (2009).

See D. Peterson, ed., Africa in My Blood, An Autobiography in Letters: The Early Years (2000); biography by D. Peterson (2006).

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