Jane Goodall
Credit: google images

I love Jane Godall because of the work that she accomplished in the study of behavior.  Although many were against her; she spent 45 years observing, learning and documenting the world of the chimpanzee.  Her work has proven that through perserverance and courage; you can change the way people see animals and themselves.  Lets meet this incredible woman.

Who is Jane Goodall?

Dame Jane Morris Goodall was a pioneer in the study of wild chimpanzees’ behavior.    This British Anthropologist was born April 3, 1984.  As a child she dreamt of living in Africa with the animals.  In 1960 her dreams came true as she traveled to Tanzania to begin her journey into the study of the nearly unknown world of the chimpanzees.  She had a theory that humans and chimpanzee’s in many ways were a lot alike.  She set out to find the truth about her theory by direct observation of the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.  She started out with some difficulties in the beginning as she tried to allow the chimpanzee’s time to be comfortable around her.  She used unconventional techniques to get closer to them.  She gave the chimps names and used feeding stations to bring them into the open. 

Important Discoveries

            Jane made many important discoveries during her time with the chimpanzees. Because she was not under collegiate direction she was able to study the chimpanzees on her on terms.   Some of which showed just how much they were like us as humans.  In October 1960 she observed tool use by chimpanzees.  They hunted for food and demystified the belief that only man was a toolmaker. One of her greatest observations came when she discovered a chimpanzee fishing for termites.  He would put his piece of grass into the termite hole and pull it out full of termites.  This showed their ability to think much like humans when gathering their food.

            She studied their stages of development and found additional similarities to humans.  Some chimpanzees developed faster than others and mothers played an important role in that.  Their mothers could be just a tough or easy going as human mothers.  They also used facial expressions to show emotion.  She discovered that they used objects in the environment for many daily uses, for example; sponges and toilet paper.  Through her continued discoveries she realized that they are meat and vegetable eaters as well as hunters.  Dominance of females is sometimes seen in a female actually killing the young of another female to maintain her place.  Jane observed that the more dominant the chimp female the better the food and survival of her young. These exciting discoveries proved her theory of similarities between chimps and humans; her findings made the scientific world take another look at their own beliefs about the chimpanzee.

Recent Work

Most of her work in recent years has revolved around speaking out against the extinction of this species.  The chimpanzees that she has come to know so much about are now an endangered species.  Her institute is working towards educating the locals of Tanzania to the importance of these animals survival.  Her work will always be remembered for bringing humanity to the chimpanzee world so that we could better understand them; which allows us to better understand ourselves.  How can you not love this woman.