Tribute to Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall, the primatologist, well-known for her immersive studies on chimpanzees, has just celebrated her 85th birthday. Here, we take a look back on the career of one of the most inspiring scientists of her generation and an environmental activist, who changed the way we look at our primate cousins and at wild life in general.
“By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment.”
This quote from Jane Goodall sums up a lifelong commitment.
Her immersion among primates revolutionised our perception of apes. We thought they were vegetarians. But she saw them hunt and eat meat. We thought they lacked intelligence. She observed a chimpanzee extract insects from a termite mound using stalks of grass. She was thus the first to show that tools are not only used by humans, as was believed at the time. Similarly, she proved that apes also have a complex social life and experience emotions… These discoveries not only challenged our certainties about our primate cousins but also our definition of human beings.
1934: born in London
1958: trip to Africa and first meeting with the anthropologist Louis Leakey
1960: mission to observe chimpanzees in Tanzania
1964: founded the Gombe Stream chimpanzee research centre in Tanzania
1966: PhD in ethology from the University of Cambridge
1977: founded the Jane Goodall Institute for biodiversity
1991: set up the educational network “Roots and Shoots”
2002: appointed “Messenger of Peace” by the United Nations
Find out more
See the trailer National Geographic documentary “Jane” here